18 Million Google Hits on Imposter Syndrome? We’re Not Pretending!

I am a bit shocked and rather saddened that so many people are searching the Internet to learn about imposter syndrome. So, what exactly is it, and what can you do if it is part of your mindset?

Imposter syndrome is the feeling of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. “Imposters” suffer from chronic self-doubt. They walk around feeling like they are frauds, which override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. 

It’s vitally important to understand how feelings of chronic self-doubt – that you are an imposter — can lead to negative outcomes in your business or life. It starts with one vital truism: What you tell yourself about yourself will cause you to feel a certain way

Quite simply, your thoughts lead to your feelings, which cause you to behave in a certain way. You take actions based on those feelings, which then create the results you have in your life. These results reinforce whatever you’ve been telling yourself. After proving yourself right over and over again, your thoughts become beliefs, and those beliefs become automatic thoughts that drive your behaviors. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Sometimes, those thoughts are positive. They can be your greatest asset to business growth. Other times, like when you are suffering from imposter syndrome, those thoughts are negative. 

Negative thoughts drive negative actions that drive negative results that drive negative thoughts that drive…You now see that not only is this a never-ending cycle, but it is also a vicious cycle that can be your biggest barrier to business growth. 

So, let’s take a minute to ask two important questions:

  1. What negative result in my business or life right now would I like to change for the better?
  2. What do I tell myself that is perpetuating that negative result?

At CORE, we advocate asking open-ended questions like the ones I just posed. These kinds of questions allow your Inner Coach to provide the answers to obstacles. In this case, it’s a way to get on the other side of the negative results you may be experiencing in your life.

I’ve got some very good news for you. You have the ability to either reject or accept negative thoughts. Here’s my three-step process.

Step #1: Notice and Address Negative Thoughts.

  • Do it now or at a later time in the day. Don’t let them run amok.
  • If you have time to address them in the moment, begin by mentally saying to yourself: “Oh how interesting, there are my negative thoughts again. I’m ready to address you.” Then go on to Step #2.
  • If you cannot address them in the moment, say to yourself: “Oh, how interesting, there you are again, I know you are just my negative thoughts, not my reality. Go away, I’ll talk to you later.” Bring your attention back to the here and now but schedule a specific time to complete Step #2. 

Step #2: Challenge Negative Thoughts and Communicate Your Truth.

  • Instead of making up a story, ask yourself, “What are the facts?”
  • Understand, you always have the ability to turn a negative thought into a new thought. 
    • “Yes, that’s what I thought in the past, but now I am learning (fill in the blank)” 
    • “Up until now, I believed you, but now I know you are my negative beliefs and what’s actually true is (fill in the blank)”

Step #3: Go Deeper.

Ask yourself open-ended questions to bring awareness about your negative thoughts so you can overcome them:

  • When does the negative voice crop up most loudly or frequently?
  • Instead of this negative thought, what do I truly KNOW about myself and my potential?
  • What evidence is there that actually challenges this negative thought?
  • How is this affecting my ability to achieve my goals and how is it shaking my confidence?

It’s easy to believe that addressing and challenging your negative thoughts won’t make a difference. Trust me. It will. When you dismantle negative thoughts and overcome the imposter syndrome, they no longer hinder your success. 

Remember, don’t just gloss over your thinking when you see negative thoughts crop up. Begin to recognize and challenge them. Not only will you see a marked difference in the success or failure of your business, life, and career, but you will also find yourself on the road to happiness. 

Feeling like an imposter is not a good place to live. Feeling like an authentic person who has earned and deserves success is so much more rewarding.