Have you ever sat there wondering how you ended up where you are? I mean, you can clearly see that you set your sights on a certain destination and now you have arrived in that place only to be feeling like you don’t belong there ~ scratching your head perplexed and consumed with self-doubt.
“If they only knew” you think to yourself, “I would be outta here in a second.” I have uttered these words to myself on more than one occasion. Every time I stepped into a new work situation, I would find that my previous sense of confidence in my ability to ace the job would fly out the window and I’d be left with this pit in my gut and an overwhelming sense of not having a clue what I was doing.
Of course, we rarely like to admit those moments to the people around us. We want to present an appearance of self-assuredness and confidence. We want the people around us to feel they can rely on us and we will come through on our promises and commitments. So, we stumble around for a while hoping that no one will notice that we are teetering on the edge of our personal pit of insecurity.
Riding the Wave of Learning
As we learn to ride the wave of the learning curve, we come to recognize that time and experience does begin to ease the anxious edge of entering into novel situations. Over time we become more comfortable with our role and we develop a certain amount of competence and efficacy. And if we are lucky, we get to enjoy this sense of security for a little while before the next adventure crosses our path.
At the very least, each episode of Imposter Syndrome ~ the sense that you have found yourself in a space that you are not prepared for and feel as though you cannot fulfill ~ and it’s just a matter of time before everyone else sees it too ~ at the very least, each bout can remind us that we have been there before and we have found our way through and expanded our comfort levels many times before. And this can be helpful however, rarely completely calms the nerves associated with Imposter Syndrome when we are in its grips.
What is Your Authentic?
I recall a very powerful conversation with a counselor I saw for many years. I had just begun research work on the Conscious Service Approach. One of the workshop sessions had centered on authenticity and the connection this had with integrity. How do we show up in real and genuine ways, being true to ourselves and in alignment with all aspects of our being ~ mind, body, soul? The conversation had lingered with me long after the session wrapped up.
I found myself wondering with my counselor ~ was I being authentic? Was I behaving with integrity? Why did I feel so out of place if I was being true to myself and my beliefs and values? What was all this discomfort about? Her response to me was profound and has reverberated in my life ever since. She pondered if it was in fact still authentic and in integrity when making major changes in life to feel out of place and uncomfortable. Wasn’t that true and authentic? Didn’t it make sense that we would feel out of place and just plain weird when we are in the midst of recreating ourselves and expanding into a new place?
I had been confusing authenticity and integrity with unwavering confidence and the presentation of expertise. Authenticity and integrity also means vulnerability and a willingness to be seen and learn in front of others.
So, how do we maintain integrity when we feel like an Imposter in our own lives?
- Remember that you are learning something new and transformative. Be patient and gentle with your process.
- Pay close attention to even the smallest things you learn each day. This will help you more clearly see your progress.
- Take note of the times where you miss the mark, but don’t dwell there. Take what you have learned and build upon it.
- When you screw up, admit it promptly AFTER you take a bit of time to show yourself the compassion you need. This frees up your energy.
- Determine your resources and then ask for help and guidance when you feel safe ~ as soon as possible. Sharing the load will ease your burden.
- Hold space for the feelings you intend to experience in this new space you have stepped into ~ confidence, creativity, joy, energized focus, contribution. Whatever, it might be, keep tuning into your intended emotional experience until you start to feel it.
I invite you to tune in on Friday June 8, 2018 at 12pm PST at www.ctrnetwork.com where I’ll explore this connection further and offer insights and techniques to manage the experience to your greatest benefit. You can be true to yourself even when you feel like an Imposter. The Imposter is just a part of you that you haven’t fully embraced or acknowledged up until now.
Let’s get started!
Share your experiences with Imposter Syndrome ~ how did you manage this with integrity?