the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
Maybe you have heard of this term Imposter Syndrome, or maybe this is your first time hearing anything about it. It has been around since the beginning of time. Do you remember Moses? I mean for the first of his life he was actually living the life of an imposter. He was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter as a baby and had to watch as his fellow Israelites were abused as slaves and act as if he was an Egyptian. Fast forward a few years and enter God and a burning bush. In Exodus 3:11
But Moses asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Who am I? Oh my heavens, how many times I have said these very words time and time again. God calls me to do something, and I know it is ordained by Him for me. But God, who am I? I love how God doesn’t sugar coat things in His Word. Here are a few more references from Moses discussions with God on his lack of skills….
Then Moses answered, “What if they refuse to believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.'”
Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am unskilled in speech?”
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “Since I am unskilled in speech, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
So many times I have heard the same words ringing in my head…”I am unskilled, not eloquent, slow. What if they refuse to believe me or listen to me?“.
I am going to let you in on a little secret, every single time I sit down to write or go out to take pictures I feel like a massive fraud. I compare myself to others and always feel like I come up short. It is a paralyzing fear, one that many times keeps me from writing or shooting at all. “You sit down here to write like you actually are a writer. You have nothing to say that anyone wants to read. Your examples are silly, and your words are hollow. You are a hypocrite, a fake, a liar, a fraud.”
The more success I have, the louder the voice seems to speak. And apparently, I am not alone in this phenomenon.
It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going ‘Any moment someone is going to find out that I am a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I have achieved.’
Just reading and researching this very real problem has helped me come to terms with it in my own life. It isn’t just me. It happens to people all the time. Very talented people whose lives appear to be very together and whose skills would never be questioned. These feelings are very real and very scary and need to be dealt with. So I would like to share with you a few things that I am going to do moving forward to deal with these emotions and replace them with the truth.
- Realize that it is not just me. Everyone deals with this at one time or another, and that it doesn’t make us crazy, it makes us human.
- Realize that it is a distraction from action. Many times imposter syndrome is the reason we quit early so that we won’t disappoint anyone. It is what keeps us from fully embracing what we have a passion for.
- Once we realize it is just a distraction, remember you have been given this challenging work for a reason. Whether it is a boss giving you a new responsibility, someone asking you to do something out of your comfort zone, or a brand new idea and passion coming alive inside you, this is your why. When you doubt yourself, go back to your why and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Remember in the dark what you knew in the light. And those self-doubts and self-loathing conversations going on in your head can get pretty dark….remember what you knew in the light.
- Avoid comparing yourself with others. Comparison truly is the thief of joy, but it also is the thief of self-confidence as well. You have been uniquely gifted by your Creator with your very own set of strengths and talents. It is a good idea to learn from others. The problem arises when we beat ourselves up for not being them. Instead of the comparison game, strive to be the very best version of yourself. You bring something to the table that no one else is capable of bringing, embrace that fully!
- And finally, don’t be afraid to talk about these feelings with a trusted friend or mentor. I can promise you, just saying to words out loud takes so much of their power away. And you will more than likely realize that everyone deals with this at some point in your life. Bring it out of the shadows of your and shed some light on it, don’t allow these feelings to rob you of your creative joy any longer!
So let’s go forward into this brand new month with a new resolve not to allow these feelings to shame us any longer. To no longer give the power to these feeling that keeps us from fully stepping into our calling. When we are honest with ourselves and with others regarding our struggles and insecurities, everyone wins. And that is a beautiful thing! Have a great week!!