Are you yourself?
How comfortable are you to be yourself with colleagues, associates, friends and family? Do you feel accepted? Or maybe you feel that you need to pretend that you are someone that you are not as they would not like the true you!
I felt like an imposter for years, especially at work feeling, incompetent in meetings, incapable of given tasks and unable to complete all my paperwork. I thought this was all colleagues were seeing and was expecting to be called in for a warning or found out as a fake.
But what colleagues were telling me was that, I am the person who will always take time to help then when they need it, I come up with creative ideas, I encourage and support others, I'm great in a crisis and at problem-solving.
In short, I was good at my job and therefore not an imposter, through my entrepreneurial journey I have got to know myself better and embraced who I am which my colleagues did a long time ago. Being true to yourself?
But there is an element of me that wonders if I was an imposter. For not being true to myself through hiding parts of my identity as I was worried people would judge me, think I was stupid and incapable. Because I masked, I feel that I was in a small way an imposter, it was not healthy either as hiding caused me to feel anxious about being caught out. I think when we make ourselves the imposter in this way it's due to survival tactics. I don't think it’s a conscious choice! Through working for myself I have gotten to know myself in a way I wasn’t expecting, I had not read in all my research or been told by other entrepreneurs that when you start your own business you go on a journey of self-discovery and self-development. This helped me to feel less of an imposter and more justified in where and what I am. Encouraging me to be more vocal about who I am especially when it comes to being Jewish and being Neurodiverse which are two parts of my identity that I have found hard to be upfront and honest about particularly when I was employed. I was a Jewish neurodivergent trying to pass for a white neurotypical - an actual imposter!
Maybe Imposter Syndrome is an ingrained anxiety caused by attempting to be liked by our peers. When I felt like an imposter, it was due to what I thought was expected of me from people who did not know I was a neurodivergent or Jewish many thought I was Italian or Greek. So, the imposter feeling was true.
Can you relate to this?
Psychology Today explains that - people who struggle with imposter syndrome believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held. This is most cases is in the mind of the person doubting themselves and feeling that they shouldn’t be where they are. It's common among women in professional environments they may be great at completing their work and make the deadlines, probably even a star employee, but are convinced that they are a fraud and can't really do their job.
Embracing the imposter I feel in many ways imposter syndrome is inevitable, it is human to grow, I think it’s time we embraced the imposter, be excited and reframe it as a positive instead of feeling like an intruder. The more we expect it rather than resist it then we will inevitably grow and become the expert. Understanding the positive in striving to do things we haven’t done before will enable us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. This is all part of listening to yourself, feeling strong enough to be our unique selves and stand alone. Do what you want to do instead of what you feel you ort to do. There is no need to compare yourself to others or berate yourself, this is especially true for those running their own businesses, it takes a lot of strength to follow your own path and stick to it without feeling you should not be where you are and you are not as qualified as all the others at doing what you do!
Moving forward and being kind to yourself
I have found honesty really helps especially when you don’t know something, its ok to be truthful and say I will find out. It can be enlightening to look at those around you with fresh eyes, as people with strengths and weaknesses who have different priorities, you'll learn to appreciate your own and realise they are likely to be experiencing a little bit of impostor syndrome too.
By learning to understand my own differences I have embraced them more which has driven me to help those with similar challenges from neurodiverse families through volunteering at ADD-Vance which is a charity that supports families affected by neurodiversity.
Confronting your beliefs about yourself is important to move past your feelings, this can be hard especially if you haven’t realized what is holding you back. If you are feeling like an impostor, you have a level of success that you are not believing to be real. Turn your beliefs into grateful one’s. Realise and write down all that you have accomplished in your life and be proud. It took me some time to practice focusing on the good stuff and realising that helping others with their imposter really helps you to feel confident that you are in the right place. And in turn shifts your fear of being found out, enabling you to be yourself and let others see the real amazing you!
You can read more about my journey in my blog THE SUCCESS OF A DYSLEXIC BUSINESS COACH!