Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Today I’m going to talk about an issue I see a lot of bloggers struggling with. In fact, I see a lot of blogger’s really crippled by this. I am talking about imposter syndrome.

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Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher

This is something I have suffered with quite a bit over the years. I’m going to get a little personal today and tell you about those times when I was pretty much paralyzed by it.

I’m going to get a bit honest today, and tell you that these weren’t the best times of my life. If you want to hear about it, then listen on.

I think if you’ve suffered with this imposter syndrome. Hopefully, you’ll get something out of my story that will help you get through it yourself.

Today I am going to present to you 7 different strategies to overcome imposter syndrome. We are going to touch on fear, self-doubt and feeling like others think you are a fraud. We are going to get really raw today.

Do you ever fear that you’re about to be found out and that everyone is about to discover you’re not as smart as they think you are or that you don’t really know what you’re doing in some area of your life?

Do you feel this way about your blogging?

If so – you’re not alone at all, but you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome.

In Today’s Episode 7 Different Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

    • Understand that you’re actually suffering from this because you’re a high achiever
      • At least be comforted out of the fact that you are not willing to settle for poor performance
      • This may not fix it, but it’s good to know
    • You need to work on self acceptance and realistic expectations
      • There have been a number of times that I have been paralysed by imposter syndrome (World Domination Summit)
      • I wrestled with it and became stuck
      • I had unrealistic expectations about the results of this talk
      • Perfectionism taken to the extreme can paralyse you
      • Perfectionism also starts to creep into other extreme realities like being booed on stage or destroying my business
      • I talked myself down to a more realistic reality and realized I didn’t need to be perfect
      • I needed to be honest and true to myself
      • Don’t be too hard on yourself, treat yourself kind
  • Focus on your audience – I realized worrying was incredibly selfish, it was all about me and not my audience
      • I decided that every time I was worried about how I would be perceived, I had to stop thinking about myself and focus on my audience
      • This is great advice for anyone creating something for an audience
      • This is also why I’m trying to interact with my readers as much as possible
      • One of the best things you can do to show that you are not a fake or fraud is to deliver value
  • Be Transparent – The most powerful thing you can do to smash through imposter syndrome is to blog with transparency
      • People can only call you a fraud or fake if you are trying to be something that you are not
      • Show people who you really are
      • I was at SMMW a couple of months ago, and Cliff Ravenscraft talked about imposter syndrome. You are only an imposter if you are lying about who you are or what you have achieved. His suggestion was to always be honest when writing content by revealing:
        • This is who I am
        • This is what I have experienced to this point and what I’m learning
        • These are my hopes, dreams and goals for the future
      • This particularly relates to bloggers who are blogging about topics that they are not qualified to formally write about yet. I get asked about this a fair bit by readers who ask ‘“should I start a blog on a topic that I’m still a beginner in?”
        • My answer is to always tell the story of when I started ProBlogger back in 2004
        • I struggled with imposter syndrome at the beginning of ProBlogger. Even though, I was on my way to being a full time blogger.
        • I worried that people would spot my weaknesses and gaps in knowledge
        • I decided to be completely transparent and share what I was trying and what I was learning
        • When you blog in this way, it is pretty hard for someone to call you a fake or fraud
  • Own Your Successes – When suffering from imposter syndrome it is hard to own your successes. They write them off to be the product of luck, timing or some other factor. This is hard to combat, but for me it’s about becoming aware of the internal and external dialogue.
      • We fall into patterns of thinking (and speaking) that we need to break, so try to identify the automatic thoughts that come and use them as triggers for more positive thinking.
      • Next time you find yourself saying or thinking “I was lucky” replace that with “I work hard to take the opportunities that came”.
      • Accept positive feedback, don’t try to deny or explain it away
      • Record the positive feedback and testimonials of others – not to show off – but for you to help you internalise your success.
      • Give those around you permission to help with this
      • While we’re talking about success… on the flip side there are times when we fail too. Don’t see these – the key here is to not get bogged down in them but to reframe them as learning opportunities!
  • Say Yes to Opportunities – That stretch you. I’m a big believer in saying yes to things that you are not sure you can do as long as you are transparent about it.
      • The only way you are going to become an expert is if you know a lot about it. To gain knowledge, you need to learn and let the rubber hit the road.
      • If someone else thinks you can do something, take that vote of confidence and learn how to do it
      • Explain that you are going to learn how to do it, or that you might need some support, but take that opportunity to get out of your comfort zone
      • By taking these opportunities, you are one step closer to being the person you want to be
  • Live with it – I’m not sure imposter syndrome ever really goes away. We need to learn to live with it. We need to put it in it’s place and deal with it. We need to learn how to use it to grow, learn and serve.
    • Above all – Don’t let it paralyse you. If it is – get some help. Talk about it and get some accountability.
    • Don’t let it rob the world of what you do know, your story, and the potential you have to make the world all the better for your contributions!

Here’s the video that was recorded of the talk that I eventually did give at World Domination Summit. While it’s not on the topic of Imposter Syndrome I hope it shows you what fun you can have by pushing through it!

Darren Rowse from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

Further Resources on Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

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