We all experience this at some point in our lives – some of us, numerous times. But what exactly does it mean?
It is a form of perfectionism, also the fear of been found out, putting high expectations on ourselves and also on our audience. It can develop into a massive anxiety problem. So, we need to stop doing it to ourselves. But how?
Let’s talk about it. We can’t be perfect all the time, not even some of the time but depending on your upbringing and natural ambitious characteristic, we can be our own worst enemy.
Social media can be a breeding ground for feeling like an imposter. The more we scroll down pages of perfect celebrities in their perfect lives, the more it makes you feel imperfect. But usually, these big personalities suffer most from imposter syndrome. How can you keep this perfect life so perfect? It crashes eventually unless you have real people around you. People that ground you, support you, balance you and protect you.
I know what I would prefer. I am not comfortable doing public speaking, I have always been terrified of it and have always avoided it as much as I could. But, I find I am participating in more public speaking events and webinars now, particularly since the pandemic changed how we live.
I can remember my first zoom meeting and hiding in the packed webinar or training session. As the months went on, I slowly revealed myself and interacted. My heart initially pounding, sweating profusely and feeling nauseous at the mention of “Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do.” Argh, who am I and what do I do – I would try to remember!
And I would always seem to follow an overconfident attendee and my anxiety would be worse. Once I did my introduction, my heart rate would go back to normal and then I enjoyed the session.
If you are brought up as a child to be perfect in everything you do, this is where the anxiety begins as you move through your life. My childhood was not motivated by cheering and praise and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Different eras have different aspirations. My mother only ever wanted to be a mother and she was content with that. She only learned to drive in her fifties. I never had an urge to drive until I was in my forties and only because I needed to.
I feel, if you have an urge to do something, try it. If it works, great, if not – learn why it didn’t. As Carol Dweck teaches – a growth mindset is learning from your mistakes and growing from the experience. A person with a fixed mindset, will give up too easily and have a negative learning experience.
Let’s inspire, support and help each other grow and if someone is struggling, call them, message them and lift them back up.
You know the opposite of imposter syndrome is ‘Expert Syndrome’ Now, that’s an article in itself!