Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Start by Just Believing
“Once upon a time, there was a girl called Jenni who was born whole and innocent, and learned to make herself small to survive. Who was taught her place and her worth by hurting, unwhole people, who did the best they could, which wasn’t very good. She swallowed whole the messages she received–that she was unlovable, stupid, and didn’t belong.”
Waking Up to Your Worth
This is an excerpt from the introduction of an amazing book I just finished reading. But it’s not a story about Jenni. It’s a story about how we are all whole, worthy, and deserving souls, but some of us have forgotten. It’s a book for those of us who feel like we’re not enough and we’re afraid that someday our boss, our friends, our families will find us out. Waking Up to Your Worth: Ten Touchstones for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is by Jennifer Wilson, MA, a dear friend who’s gained my respect and admiration because of her deep wisdom. It’s one of those books that I think everyone should read.
The first touchstone Jennifer shares is “Just Believe.” She points out that Imposter Syndrome blinds us to our special attributes, skills, and talents. “Although we can readily see and admire other people’s talents, when something comes effortlessly to us, we’re prone to discount it as no big thing rather than recognize talent in ourselves.”
“When we hear someone say, ‘I see your (strength, skill, talent, ability, potential)’, we have a choice (and in every moment, we always have this choice). We can discount it and not believe them–score one for Imposter Syndrome–or we can Just Believe.”
When our Imposter Syndrome kicks in, it’s because we’re afraid. But when we can be “more afraid of regret than of finding out we’d fail,” we get to live a fuller, more rewarding life. And we also give others permission to believe in themselves. Jennifer emphasizes that, “We need to understand that Imposter Syndrome is damaging and limiting not only to ourselves, but to the people around us who may also struggle with Imposter Syndrome.”
One of the practices Jennifer suggests to help you Just Believe is to notice how you respond when you receive compliments from people. Do you accept them with gratitude? Deflect or deny them? Do you respond differently to some people than others? Why might that be?
To learn all ten touchstones and hear Jennifer’s personal stories as she struggled with Imposter Syndrome, be sure to check out Waking Up to Your Worth: Ten Touchstones for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. When you read how far Jennifer has come on her own journey, you’ll realize there is hope for all of us.
Jennifer Wilson is the Founder/Principal at New Leaf Coaching & Consulting