I’m always astounded when clients can explain to me in vivid detail their skills to accomplish something – a new project, an offering, a redirection of their business – with such confidence, detail and passion, yet when I ask them “So what’s stopping you?” they retract into themselves, become childlike and quietly say “I’m not sure I have the ability to.”
Imposter syndrome is very real.
The voice in our head is real. A wonderful book by Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul, discusses in detail the impact this inner voice has on us. If we listened to it, really listened to it for a few days, we would be horrified. This is the voice that whispers “You definitely can’t to that” while at the same time telling you to press forward. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. We wouldn’t keep a friend around who spoke to us like that, yet we tune in to this voice and absorb its potency.
Somewhere along our development journey, likely when we were very young, we began to build an awareness of ourselves. We also developed an awareness of our thought and therefore that other people had thoughts. Along the way we started to wonder if other people’s thoughts were about us! From here we began to operate from our Ego. Ego is that annoying part of us that listens to the voice in our heads telling us what we should and shouldn’t do, what we can and can’t do and of course, what we think others believe we can do.
The logical approach to any hesitation is to look at all the evidence we have that demonstrates just how amazing we are. I encourage clients to write out every skill, experience, asset, trait and piece of knowledge they have that would demonstrate they can do the thing that they are trying to do. They write it, rewrite it and read it – every day.
This is a laborious task, but it works. And you can do it too if you’re feeling really stuck about your ability to do something. However, there’s an easier way. Pay attention to that voice in your head. Listen to it carefully and then acknowledge how incredibly ridiculous it is. Let it know that you hear it and that it must be attached to an insane person who doesn’t know themselves very well! Then, decide to consciously change any negative language it shares with you.
Rewiring your brain
Catch yourself every single time you drift into a space of disbelief about your ability and turn that conversation backwards. You have the evidence. Now you just need to change the voice. Imposter syndrome is only real because we allow it to be so. This is a practice, just like learning an instrument or a sport or a language. Practice changing the way the voice in your head sounds and before long it will turn down is negative language and only pipe up when it has something supportive and positive to say.
It’s an amazingly simple realization yet such a powerful one when we know that it is completely within our power to remove imposter syndrome (the crazy person inside your mind) and become strong, confident and able. Imagine the possibilities!
Call us for a chat about how you overcome imposter syndrome and book your free 15 minute performance call with us online now, or join us for free live sessions on LinkedIn – 20/20: Clearer Views on the Neuroscience of High Performance. Register now.