How to Get Over ‘Imposter Syndrome’
by Robin Sacks
by Robin Sacks
Have you ever questioned your own ability? Does it ever feel like people are light years ahead of you while you seem to be behind.
It’s not uncommon to get a new title at work, be sitting at a table with talented people, or be leading in some way and suddenly think to yourself, “What am I doing here???”
This human phenomenon is known as “imposter syndrome” and it is quite common.
Why is imposter syndrome so common?
Comparison is a natural thing for human beings to do, and we all do it at times. But if you you do it too often, and always with a negative bent, it can be psychologically detrimental and even debilitating.
Comparison can motivate you, IF you use it properly (for example, when you compare yourself to a past version of yourself to see how far you’ve come). Comparison can inspire you, IF you use it properly (for example, when you admire someone else’s effort and choose to adopt personal habits for yourself based on what helped them reach a certain goal).
The problem is most people use comparison all wrong.
Notice that when we’re comparing ourselves to someone else, we always look forward and compare ourselves to people who have done more than us or done it longer than us. When we do that, it makes us feel as if those people are light years ahead of where we are…because they are! You DO have a ‘long way to go’ if you are looking at someone who has been at it for years.
But that is not a fair comparison, is it? Why would you ever expect to be in the same place someone who has done more for a longer period of time is? That makes no sense.
Here’s how to do it differently.
Instead of looking ahead and feeling behind, turn around and look backwards. Look at all of the people who are NOT where you currently are. By turning around and looking behind you, you not only realize how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished, but you also realize how much of an expert and inspiration you already are to all of those people who are currently where you once were.
Reminding yourself to look backwards, as well as forwards, will change your perception into something that serves you well and is helpful, instead of something that always makes you feel like you’re ‘behind the eight ball.’
You are where you are, and it always makes sense why.
Never forget that every step you take forward not only moves you closer to whatever your goal is, it also shows people who are not as far along as you that they can do it, too.