Why sometimes I feel like an impostor…


Pretty soon everyone is going to figure out I know nothing about blogger outreach, that I’ve just been making it up…for years. Bloggers are going to realise I can’t help them, and brands are going to run a mile. Pretty soon, everyone is going to know the truth.

Have you heard of Impostor Syndrome? It’s when you feel like a fraud and that you are not as smart and experienced (nor deserving) as people think, and that pretty soon people going to find this out!

Apparently the term was coined in the 1980s and is something that a truck-load of women struggle with. Huh?

If you’ve ever thought something like “one of these days people are going to figure out that I have no idea what I am talking about” then you are not alone. I am raising my hand & waving the flag – this is something that plagues me.

In fact as I did a bit of research on this topic I discovered that Impostor Syndrome is often found among high-achieving, successful women. There is great irony in the fact that this discovery led me to wonder if I really do have impostor syndrome. To suggest that I do, might also be to suggest that I am a high achieving, successful woman!! Oh my goodness, am I faking my impostor syndrome?!?! (It would be hilarious if it weren’t so ridiculous!)

The thing about Impostor Syndrome is that it can stop you from doing the stuff you love, not to mention the very things you are do well. It can stop you innovating and creating. Instead of putting yourself out there, you hold back.

What to do when you struggle with Impostor Syndrome?

I don’t have it all figured out and I feel like this on a fairly regular basis, BUT this is how I deal with it:

  • Remember my accomplishments. Much like ‘mind over matter’, I go through the things that I have and am achieving with my work and force myself to acknowledge them. Concrete, tangible accomplishments.
  • Revisit client testimonials that remind me and provide proof that I know what I am doing (and that what I am doing works).
  • Having a trusted group of friends and business confidants who I meet with in person and who do a combination of saying supportive things while also metaphorically smacking some sense into me.
  • Ride it out. Impostor syndrome has become something of an unwanted companion who likes to pop in uninvited at regular intervals. Now that I’m onto her, I am also aware that she will leave. In the meantime, I need to make sure I don’t give credence to her voice. I am personally not good at getting to this step until I’ve been through the first three stages…whatever works for you.
  • Once I’ve done all this, then I find it’s great to go an be helpful. Putting what I know into practice, and encouraging and helping someone else in the process is a simple way to remind myself that my work is not about me, but about the people it helps.

I can’t tell you how to deal with this unwanted visitor, should she also lurk around your place. What I can do is name it….and, as scary as writing this post is, in the process of naming this beast I hope to disentangle myself from its stranglehold..

Perhaps this is something you’ve been known to struggle with as well? Tell me and we can have our own little therapy party!

21 Comments

  1. Oh boy; I suffer from it too! Someone can ask me a question and even if I know what I’m talking about is correct, I still hesitate to say anything! That darn thing follows me to everywhere!

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    • Oh, I am sorry to hear that! It’s such a terrible pain!!

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  2. When it comes to blogging Louisa, I don’t have a clue about it. I just fly by the seat of my pants. But what I do know is how to live frugally and my passion is homemaking and food. Those are my strengths and that’s why I blog. I don’t care about stats, engagement, SEO blah blah blah. I just love to share what I know.

    Anne xx

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    • Good on you Anne! x

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  3. Oh yes….. I struggle with this daily. Thanks for posting and informing us so we don’t all have to feel so alone!

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    • Oh Sarah, lovely to meet a fellow ‘sufferer’ but sorry to hear this plagues you too! You definitely aren’t alone!

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  4. I need to join this therapy group please! It’s an awful feeling. My IS shows up like this, I know what I’m talking about, I’m quite confident about that but hey I’ll give all of my info out for free and never ask for anything because clearly it’s not worth it. Asking for money? Who does that? That’s just crazy! Oi. Yes even I realize how ridiculous I sound but man does it give me a stomach ache….. Help!
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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    • YAY, therapy party! I so understand, we just have to ‘keep on swimming!’

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  5. I’m a nurse, and every nurse I know gotta through that, too. Especially at first. Evan after you go to school and take your licensing exam, suddenly they call you a nurse but you still feel the same as you did before you took the exam, and very aware of how much you don’t know! I kept thinking, “I can’t believe their going to let me be a nurse. I could kill somebody!” For context, I graduated at the top of my class. I was as prepared as anyone… But imposter syndrome is quite common, I think, even if many people don’t admit it!

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    • WOW Carolyn, that’s amazing – I can only imagine how overwhelming that must be! Nurses are incredible people, thank you for doing what you do!

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      • Oh dear, the autocorrect typos in my comment are horrifying! I typed that previous comment on my phone because I was too excited to wait and comment from my laptop! lol
        How’s that for imposter syndrome?! I swear I know the difference between ‘their’ and ‘they’re!’ 😛

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        • Haha! I didn’t even notice it, I was just so appreciative of the kind words of support!

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          • I spent a bit more time on your blog this morning (now that I’m not on a phone), and it’s great! I’m starting another blog, more of a writing blog and a professional landing page, but I’ll be writing about writing (so meta), and I hope to have this level of professionalism and authority in my scope and tone. You really do an outstanding job here! 😀

          • Oh that’s so kind! Good luck with the new blog and if there’s anything I can help with just let me know 🙂

  6. Oh, my word, I had no idea this is a thing. This is me! I feel like I’m winging it with a prayer and a hope. Yet I have this post that has brought so much joy to quite a lot of folks. I know I have to write more about that topic. But what if it doesn’t do as well? What if I can’t write it as well? What if people see that one post as a complete fluke, a miracle, or worse yet, something I didn’t write. Yep. Thanks for the tips on how to get over that hump. I’m going to try this.

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    • Gosh I understand Jackie! Put it out there, go on – you can do it! Come back and drop me a link to the post so I can come over and leave you some love 🙂

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    • Oh dear, I am sorry to hear that! Glad to know there’s a few of us out there though!

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  7. I’m not sure I feel like an imposter. I think I definitely have lack of confidence. I see what other women entrepreneurs do and know I can do it too. But, I get stuck like a deer in headlights.

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