Tell the Imposter Syndrome to Take a Hike!
In all the corporate coaching I’ve done, the most interesting trait I’ve noticed in highly successful women is the Imposter Syndrome. You can call it a lack of self confidence, but it’s more than that. Successful women can simultaneously hold the belief in their ability to do exceptional work and a feeling that someone will find out that they really aren’t good enough to be in a position of power.
There’s a bone deep reticence to shine. A feeling that if we let our light shine, someone will try to extinguish it.
Take me for instance. When I was doing my book tour, with stops in Virginia, Georgia, San Diego and Washington D.C., I was on TV and radio...a lot. Even after dozens of interviews, I would have to overcome the urge to hurl in order to paste on a smile and talk about parenting. Deep down, I felt like I had no right to be there, since I didn’t have any letters after my name, no doctorate in psychology to back me up. As if I hadn’t met numerous psychologists who had kids who were nightmares walking.
I had raised three children from scratch, and one from the age of 16, and they were all good citizens and people you would want to invite to dinner. Small aside: kudos to my hubbie for the patience and support MVP. Because I did the discipline, parenting plan and chaos mitigation, and he did everything else. In fact, we were waxing poetic on our deck last week about how satisfied we are with our kids. If I weren’t their mom, I would want to hang out with them. They are funny, smart and kind, just the way I hoped they would turn out!
So, why wouldn’t I be thrilled to talk about my parenting experience, since I was obviously good at it? Imposter syndrome, that’s why. Who am I to think I can help other people with parenting? Who am I to think I can make a difference in the world by empowering teen girls, since I don’t have credentials beyond a B.A. in English Literature and a burning desire to help girls shine their light.
How can I help them do what makes me so uncomfortable? Practice. I just keep showing up and doing the thing. I tell my Inner Judge to go take a nap, ‘cause Mama T is busy making magic right now. If I listened to that voice dripping with disdain and caution, I might not make it out of bed in the morning. The choice is mine whether to show up and be vulnerable and keep trying or to cave and stay safe in my lovely bubble. It doesn’t matter if we feel like an imposter in our success, the success part rules. The only person that can stop us from shining our light is us.
P.S. if you need help shining your light, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go here for life-coaching packages https://girlpowerforgood.org/life-coach/