Go From Faking It To Making It.
Have you ever felt like an imposter?
You’re off to work and you’re doing your thing you have done a thousand times but that little voice is whispering “someone’s going to find you out soon as the fake you are”.
Psychologists, who rather like to name such things have dubbed this ‘Imposter Syndrome’. And it is more common than you might think.
While many people will know this feeling, many more will never have owned it. They may deny it and overcompensate by being overbearing or boastful and appear to have an inflated opinion of themselves. Of course, they could also be a real Fake!
In tests of competency and self assessment, it has been shown that we are not always a good judge of our own competency. Oftentimes, those who believe themselves to be most competent are not. Similarly those who have a more humble approach to assessing their own competency compared to others may give themselves less credit than they deserve.
So what to make of all that?
Perhaps the best place to start is to look at the methods we use to “know” what we know. How objective is the measure we are taking of our competency in a particular area? Are we arriving at such thinking as a result of a feeling, or have we taken into account objective feedback from others to verify our self assessment and to establish that it is consistent with the assessment others might make?
The beliefs that we hold, can affect our judgment and then impact on our self esteem and the method by which we verify information.
While some are totally ‘knowing’ because they ‘know’ (or think they do), others only believe what others tell them they know. They need validation from others to ‘feel’ they know. Yet others will contrast what they believe they know with an external check to see if the information is consistent.
Trusting yourself is a good attitude to cultivate. Unless you are delusional.
By using an external check now and then you can be confident that your measurement system is well calibrated and in good working order.
Another issue that plays into this Feeling–Like-A-Fraud impulse is the accompanying belief that someone in an important role must be more confident, more competent and generally “Better” than mere mortals like ourselves. It is quite a revelation when one learns that isn’t necessarily the case. Dills are promoted. Heads of companies are not omnipotent and a rudely inflated salary does not in and of itself prove any mental or moral superiority.
If confidence is a problem, then getting some objective feedback on actual competence would be in order. If there is a gap between the skills that you need and the skills that you have – then training will fix that.
Once you know that your skills are in order, you can look at other issues that may be holding you back and leaving you feeling less than confident. There is no doubt that if we are lacking in skills, increasing competence gives us reason to feel more confident. If we have the skills and just the feeling of not being confident, there may be no amount of skills that will make us feel better.
How we think about ourselves is often a reflection of the kinds of language that we habitually use. Paying attention to the patterns of our language use can show up ways that we talk ourselves down and this habit can continually make us doubt our decisions, our self worth and even how we allow others to speak to us.
Try this for a week, or as long as you need to find a pattern.
Write down the recurring phrases that you use.
Notice the patterns that others use when speaking.
Learn to recognize when optimistic language pattern is being used.
Identify when one is using a language pattern that is encouraging and seeks the best frame from which to view the situation.
Identify when a language pattern is being used that talks one down and finds the worst possible frame from which to view the situation.
Learning to switch our frame of reference means that we have some control over how we feel in any given situation. That control over our state, can have a positive effect on our physiology and that positive physiology in turn help us to feel more positive and express a more effective state. When we operate from a positive state we are able to be more flexible and this allows us to see more opportunities which exist. That’s a good condition for creating confidence.
If you think you might be a fake – test it out. Get feedback.
If you are a fake, lift your game. Get better at it and know that you really are okay.
Once you know that you are completely competent, don’t let anyone tell you different.
Not even you.
Especially, not you.