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Impostor Syndrome

Kick that son of a bitch to the curb!

Surely you've heard about Impostor Syndrome.
You haven't? Well this is paraphrased from Wikipedia:
"Impostor Syndrome referres to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."
Does this sound like you?
I frequently suffer from Impostor Syndrome.
Despite working my ass off, studying, reading, writing, and literally trying every single day to be better than I was the previous day, when I achieve things I assume it must be luck.
When I won an annual sales award, I thought, "How could I deserve this? Maybe a recount is in order."
When I get results for my business diploma exams I always think, "How could I have passed that unit? I know nothing about this stuff". Despite being extremely ahead of schedule and frequently receiving great results, I often think I'm not smart enough to be studying this course at all.
This way of thinking is more common that you think.
Impostor Syndrome rears it's ugly head all the time, especially among high performing women. It's the mean monster inside us whispering that we are just fooling everyone. We are not as good as we think we are.
It's pathetic and needs to stop.
So here is my list of helpful hints to kick Impostor Syndrome to the curb:
1. Be your own best friend
To quote Diane Von Furstenburg, "When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier." I believe this is key in being truly happy. When you look in the mirror and see positive things and cheer yourself on for the little successes you have during the day, your outlook changes.
For me it is a habit. I congratulate myself when I have a good idea. When I feel pretty I take a photo of myself and send it to my husband. He loves knowing when I'm feeling confident and proud. And it's perfectly okay and healthy to love yourself and be proud of your achievements, big or small.
2. Keep a Kick-ass List
Next time you handle something really well, for example a work project where you've been a little vulnerable and taken a risk, or another instance where you've followed through with your gut instinct, write it down somewhere. Over time you'll begin to get a list of past opportunities that you've taken ownership of that resulted in success. This will become your 'Kick-ass List'. As this list grows, you will realise how truly powerful and kick-ass you really are.
3. Don't be afraid to be 'wrong'
Recently I was asked my opinion on an important matter at work. I didn't say, "Well, I could be wrong but..." I just gave my honest opinion in the moment. I knew that my opinion could not be really wrong - because it's mine, I created it.
My opinion may change and that's okay. I have been 'wrong' before about things and yes I'll be 'wrong' again. My responses and actions are built on the best conclusion I can see based on the facts I have available at the time. Of course this may change. New facts come to light every moment. Being wrong or changing your mind is okay.
4. Admit Impostor Syndrome exists, and you probably have it
It's not the end of the world. It's actually what's helping keep your ego in check.
Now go have a glass of wine and celebrate what you've accomplished.
Because you did it.
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