You know that voice that tells you that you can’t do something, or that you’re a fraud for being where you are. The one that you hear in your head asking, “Did you really earn this recognition or reward?”
“Are you really deserving of it?!”
That’s actually you. It’s the impostor you.
And while our instincts tell us to listen to the impostor, and even allow it to control us - I would encourage you to embrace it.
Befriend your inner impostor. Really listen to her.
We can learn a lot from what our impostor tells us when we’re in the heat of achievement, acknowledgement, and hard work. What we might interpret as the one that is bringing us down may actually be telling us what we need to do.
There are ways to embrace your inner impostor and let it guide you towards continued achievement and success:
Own it. That job you worked so hard for. That project you finished on time. That presentation you just delivered. Own every piece of it. Your inner impostor is there telling you that you don’t deserve it to remind you that the more you own it, the more you become it.
Learn. We can never be all things to all people, nor should we really strive to be. Part of embracing your inner impostor is listening when it tells you that you don’t know something - and then going out and learning about it! There is no shame in not knowing everything - it’s actually quite impossible. Let your inner impostor be the one who reminds you when it’s time to hit the books, networking events, and classes to really reach your comfort level in a certain area, topic, or skill.
Be transparent. There is something humbling and attractive about a person who can admit when they are unclear or even uncomfortable. When your inner impostor tells you that you aren’t making the best decision, or that you need to change direction, use transparency to open up to others and tell them where you’re at. You would be surprised at how humanizing it can be for others to see that real people can admit when things need to change, slow down, or even stop altogether.
Ask questions. One of the most common lies your inner impostor will tell you is to not ask questions. Because asking questions indicates a lack of knowledge, attention, or even capability. Instead, embrace your inner impostor by knowing when to ask questions and that it’s perfectly acceptable to do so to gain clarity and dig deeper. Being insightful and wanting to completely understand something is an admirable characteristic of many high performers.
Know your comfort zone. Your inner impostor is going to tell you that you’re out of your comfort zone no matter what you’re doing. Even though a job, business, or even relationship might feel a bit uncomfortable, it does not mean that you’re outside of your comfort zone. Take some time to really evaluate if you are outside of your comfort zone - or just in new territory. Just because something doesn’t feel comfortable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there, or doing it - it just means you need to embrace your impostor by getting to know the situation better and find ease as best you can.
No matter how hard we work, or grow our self-confidence, our inner impostor is most likely to always be there. Next time she shows up, try embracing it and see where it takes you.