Getting Cozy With Imposter Syndrome

The path to a (healthy) multi-passionate career is not simply piling on extra work and saying a prayer that you'll be able to sustain it.

Venturing into a second income stream (or third, or fourth) means getting smart about the first. Putting boundaries in place, learning to work smart, aligning with our energy levels, taking ownership of our schedule, and so much more...

All things that go completely against the corporate culture where being busy is rewarded and having your shit together makes you the outlier. It's what drives many intelligent professionals into an obsessive mission to prove their worth.

Perfectionism? I have a secret to share: your 80% is everyone else's 100%. Not because everyone else sucks, but because your imposter syndrome has most likely inflated your sense of accomplishment so much that it has become unattainable.

Procrastination? Look at which tasks you're skipping over. Do they require you to ask for help (something that makes you feel inadequate)?

Burnout? Consider why you don't feel deserving of setting personal boundaries in your work day.

Checking Slack on the weekends is not a badge of honour.

It's a sign of imposter syndrome.

It's a message to ourselves that we need to work twice as hard in order to just keep up with everyone around us. That to be worthy of our role, we have to always be on. That every meeting with our lead is the one where we finally get found out.

It's a fate that many of us reach when we don't do the work to understand our imposter triggers.

Is it any surprise then, when professionals hit a wall and drop everything but a passport, backpack, and wifi connection?

I think there's a better approach.

If we're going to kick ass and take names with our multi-passionate careers, we need to make sure we have the stamina to do so. And working ourselves into exhaustion? Doesn't exactly leave space for experimentation.

Imposter syndrome itself is not the enemy.

Fear and denial of imposter syndrome is the enemy.

It's like an untrained puppy wreaking havoc on our beautiful home, when all that's needed is a little attention and a few ground rules.

In other words? It's time we get cozy with imposter syndrome.

Look where it's showing up for you and how you're coping (or not coping) with it. Chipping away at it, little by little, until it's a well-trained pup that actually pushes you out of the house and off to explore the world.

The goal is never to eliminate it, the goal is to learn to thrive with it. Because yes, imposter syndrome can actually be a good thing. Doing anything great will stir up our insecurities, a sign that we're stretching out of our comfort zone.

As our favourite thinker, Seth Godin, says:

"You can’t do something important, something new, something meaningful if you’re sure it’s going to work, because if you’re sure it’s going to work, it’s not important, new, or meaningful."

Unless you're ready to throw in the towel and simply live the same year over and over again without any growth, feeling unsure and like an imposter is not going away any time soon.

So where do we start? By knowing where it shows up for us. The more we speak it into existence, the less it exists.

My imposter kryptonite is explaining away my accomplishments as "luck". Being chosen out of hundreds of applications to join Mindvalley? Luck. Pitching and closing new consulting clients? Luck. Getting hired at a company like Shopify? Luck.

It seems harmless enough, but when I'm ready to pursue my next big idea? I will be waiting for another "lucky break" (hoping I haven't run out of them) instead of confidently knowing that it's me who has been making everything happen so far. Our identity needs to be upgraded with every new skill we add because when we don’t internalize our skills, we end up feeling like frauds having them.

It's been a pain in the ass to shift my mindset away from luck. And you know what helped?

Building a personal brand.

I've come to learn that showing up online is not some fluffy thing that influencers do. It's a (scary) practice of narrating a new story for ourselves, one that reflects how powerful we really are.

How confident are you to log into LinkedIn right now and start updating your profile? Writing a post?

What about building a personal website and showcasing your accomplishments?

These have been some of the thoughts buzzing around in my head as I've been getting cozy with my own imposter syndrome this year. It's why I so passionately believe that every professional needs to get online. Building an authentic career in the corporate landscape is not as easy as following the expected corporate ladder path, but damn it, I know we can change that!

I've shared mine, and if you're open to sharing as well, I would love to know what imposter thoughts are showing up for you?

Leave a comment