I recently read this enlightening article on Upworthy: You may suffer from ‘impostor syndrome.’ Lots of smart people with signs of high achievement do. and it got me thinking about my life, the work life balance I struggle sometimes to achieve and the sometimes overwhelming pressure to have it all and be it all to everyone.
I wouldn’t say the gripping fear describes me, but certainly this hit close to home:
Two American psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, gave it a name in 1978: the impostor syndrome. They described it as a feeling of ‘phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.’ While these people ‘are highly motivated to achieve,’ they also ‘live in fear of being “found out” or exposed as frauds.’
There are days in my 9-5 where I discount what I do and what I know because it doesn’t seem hard or meaningful. Then there are days I step out of my comfort zone and speak with people within my industry but outside my workplace and realize that I really am quite good at my job. I was referred to as an industry leader just the other day. Who knew? I guess I did, but had never really seen myself through that lens before.
One of my initial hesitations when I started working with Beautycounter was the fear that I wouldn’t be taken seriously enough- I’ve never thought of myself as beautiful- pretty maybe, but not to the level of someone who might work with a cosmetics and personal care company. Then I got started and much to my surprise, you don’t have to be stunningly gorgeous to genuinely help others make the #switchtosafer and improve the safety and efficacy of their personal care and cosmetic products. I’m learning a lot about inner beauty and the importance of believing in a mission or a product to truly make a difference. A buzzword out there in “how do we manage Millennials” circles is “meaning”- people seek to find meaning in their lives- it’s more than the money, it’s the sense of purpose.
I’ve also learned that you can’t always give. As a new mom, there are days where my lunch and my shower are pushed to the back burner- thank goodness for hats! I’ve recently discovered WIN Daily Lift and am making the commitment to invest at least the $2 a day in making sure that my own nutritional and energy needs are met. I’ve talked about not being able to pour from an empty cup before, and after the draining rush of the recent holiday period and in the spirit of making New Years’ commitments, this is one area where I can certainly improve and as I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that if it’s any more complicated than throwing a packet in my bag in the morning to enjoy on the go, it’s not going to happen.
The article above says there are two steps to doing cool things- create value and bring that value to the market. The value can be simple, but the author notes that the important step is to make the leap from thought to action. Nike style- just do it. We all have skills or information that others need- go out and offer that value to others. It doesn’t have to mean you monetize the value as the author explains-but it’s critical to get out there and share. Only then, only by going out on a limb and saying yes to being on an industry panel at a major trade show, or committing to educating others on the state of a major industry, can you realize that you’re not an imposter- you’re the real deal. You know your stuff, people want what you have to offer. You are a powerful force to be reckoned with.
My goals in 2017 include helping others realize their strengths- on the ski hill, in their online business, in a new online business, in a brick and mortar endeavor they’ve been putting off. If this sounds like you- I want to hear from you. Shoot me an email and let’s make this year one to remember.