Imposter Syndrome

This is blog number 300. That’s almost six years. Yes, I can do the math in my head! I almost opened an excel sheet to multiply 6 times 52. How embarrassing…but not as embarrassing as watching someone who has an excel sheet open right in front of them and they open a calculator app to do math! We’ve all seen it happen.

I coach people for a living and a vocation. And yet, I still have some of the things crop up for me that I am coaching others through on a daily basis.

Oh, you know, like time management. Or motivation. Or “all or something” instead of the black or white “all or nothing” mentality. Or neutral feedback. Or letting go of what I can’t change (serenity prayer time!).

Or the biggest one of all – Imposter Syndrome. It’s so big that it deserves capitalization. I’m surprised by how often it pops up.

I am aware that women tend to be more prone to Imposter Syndrome. Did you see how wishy washy that last sentence is? “Tend to” and “more prone” have the same impact as “Kind of” and “sort of” and “just” – words and phrases that dilute our impact. They make us sound wishy washy…as if we had I.S.

Okay, here it is – everyone I have ever met has had Imposter Syndrome at some time or another. Well, I can think of four exceptions. One was a sociopath, two were narcissists, and one IS an imposter. Exceptions aside, imposter syndrome is a thing that most everyone in my world experiences.

I don’t exactly know why. I can take a pretty good guess that there are some major social pressures at work here – about our brokenness, how we have to earn our worthiness, (and for women, how we have to be even better at X to be equal) – all transmitted via advertising, social media, general media, yada yada.

I also know that our little kid brain is trying to protect us from danger. You know, the life-threatening danger that we might be embarrassed, or make a mistake, or that someone else will come along who really IS an expert and our disguise will be ripped off in a dramatic flair.

My process for getting to the other side of I.S. is pretty simple. I thank my little kid brain and tell her I’ve got it. (I actually visualize it as a 3 year old girl “helping” in the kitchen.) Then I use my executive brain – the one I have actually put in charge to look at information and make good decisions – and I gather evidence. How am I actually qualified to be the person that I’m afraid (yes, afraid) that I’m pretending to be? Most times, I find enough evidence, and so my brain and I talk it out and come to a decision together that I am not an imposter, I’m actually quite qualified. Sometimes we even find that I’m the best person for the task or role or whatever the thing is.

And sometimes we have to repeat the exercise, because I forget and get nervous again. But that’s okay, because I’m human and special and unique. Just like everyone else. So are you.

One of my coaching friends likes to say that her mess is her message. I’m gonna go with that, too. After all, my mess has given me blog messages for almost 6 years now!

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the shadows,

Maggie

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1 Comments

  1. Chris Benoit May 26, 2023 at 4:32 am

    Congratulations on six years and 300 blog posts, Maggie! You are terrific and so is your writing. I love how well you describe our inner realities and model working your way through them to peace and… progress not perfection! God bless you and your great work. And thank you, too.

    Reply

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