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10 Way's To Embrace Imposter Syndrome

by Misha Alsleben about a year ago in advice
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Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.

You may or may not be familiar with Imposter Syndrome. I struggled with it for quite a few years and have only recently in the last three years dedicated myself and time to grow as a person, which also means doing things I never thought I would have done.

Like attending blogger meetings or seminars. Since 2017 I have been a mom-influencer with the company MomsMeet. MomsMeet prides itself on being a community for moms (and also dads, grandparents, and other caretakers) who are genuinely interested in learning how to raise healthy and happy families. They often have programs for you to test out or try new products at your mom's group. This, of course, was difficult when COVID hit however they did a great job at adapting and allowing programs to continue digitally and with porch drop-offs or digital coupons to share with your group.

Every year they host a WOW summit meeting where there are 3 days full of fun, education, and exhibits from companies and sponsors who embody that healthy happy family vibe and desire.

I had gotten tickets for a summit in 2018 and unfortunately, I and my kids got sick so I was unable to attend. This year however this year they have held it online and digitally! Allowing us to still connect with brands, talk with one another and absorb some fantastic information for their speakers this year.

One speaker and seminar, in particular, captivated me.

Vasavi Kumar, Vasavi describes herself as-a " Not-your-typical Therapist and Business and Mindset Mentor. INFJ. Taurus. Enneagram type 4. First-generation Indian immigrant. I help you release the outdated beliefs that I've been holding you back in life and business—so you finally feel confident, clear, and in charge of your time and energy. "

You can view her website here to see more of her work, learn more about her and even hire her to work with you directly!

Embracing Your Imposter Syndrome. Now as I mentioned I've been working on myself as a person and that isn't always easy however even still I do struggle with imposter syndrome from time to time.

Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.

It is a phenomenon (an experience) that occurs in an individual, not a mental disorder. Impostor phenomenon is not recognized in the DSM or ICD, although both of these classification systems recognize low self-esteem and sense of failure as associated symptoms of depression.

In less than an hour, it was incredibly impressive how much information and help she was able to pass on to me and other moms like me.

While speaking she shared 10 ways to help embrace your imposter syndrome vs overcoming it and the reason behind embracing is because what she's found is that later in life even after we complete big accomplishment's eventually we are always confronted with the internal dialogue that is there now. We need to embrace our dialogue but not always believe it as it's important to think differently about our inner dialogue VS sweeping it under the rug and pretending it isn't there.

First, she discussed the catalyst of imposter syndrome which is as follows

  • 38% of imposter syndrome is self-generated, self-doubt
  • 20% asking for help
  • 16% being criticized

Overall the talk centered on changing how we think about the voices in our head vs feeding into the negative voices and taking it as truth or fact when it is not. We see this a little more in tip # 2.

The tips she shared during the summit were honestly quite wonderful and I feel like they need to be shared again.

1. ) Admit it aloud -

Admitting you have imposter syndrome or feel like an imposter is an important first step. To do this you can join a community or talk to a therapist. Alternatively, anyone who you trust or can confide in. Find support because you're not alone and having that support can make such a difference in how we think about ourselves.

Say it aloud

"Yes I have imposter syndrome"

She was so right - this is a freeing step. It helps not weigh you down as much as she put it. Which I feel is a great way to describe this.

Before I go any further I want to bring up a point that I am so thankful Vasavi Kumar brought up is that if you complete these steps and you still feel like your haunted by imposter syndrome or don't feel any different that-

"The difference between you and other's who have embraced their imposter syndrome is that they have learned to think differently about themselves and learned to change the narrative about themselves internally. " -Vasavi Kumar

2.) Remember Your Feeling's Aren't Fact

Remember that you can feel a certain way about yourself but that doesn't mean it's accurate. It's always important to look at the facts and not take your feelings as facts.

"You can feel a certain way about yourself, you can feel like your not good enough, you can feel like your not qualified but this is where you need to work on really separating those feeling's from facts.

" You can feel like your not good enough but what does the fact's say? " -Vasavi Kumar

Vasavi mentioned that this rule is also why it's important to find someone to talk to so they can mirror back what you're saying. Sometimes just hearing yourself say it out loud help's you realize how unfactual what you are saying is, however hearing someone repeat it back to you or point out the facts helps provide a different kind of support that is much needed when embracing your imposter syndrome and learning to think differently about your feelings and thoughts.

When you have those feelings and negative self-talk, it is incredibly important to say but what do the facts say?

"The facts say that you are qualified, the facts say that you worked your booty off to get where you are, the facts say that you do know what you're doing." -Vasavi Kumar

This and this alone have made a huge difference in my life and everyday thinking. I use to have such a negative voice or when I was stressed not only would it put me in a bad mood but those nasty little voices stemmed from my feelings would nag and nag at me. Repeating over and over. You can't do this. You shouldn't have even been trying to do this. And other similar thoughts. Catching those thoughts and realizing that's how I feel not the reality of it. The reality of it is that I am extremely good at decorating cakes and baking. However, doing it as a career I had lost my passion for it. I hadn't admitted that to myself. In the same, I've also experienced thoughts while writing. My early work is full of grammatical errors, and mistakes. For a very long time, I considered giving up writing, however, I am so glad that I was able to separate my feelings from the facts and realize them. I wasn't a bad writer, I just needed to work on it more and ensure that I was being more careful and edit without mercy.

"When we keep it in our head, then start to feel it in our body we start to feel that it's real. Then we let that dictate how we feel about ourselves and how we show up in the world. In the end, sabotaging ourselves because we believe in the thought's of I'm not good enough I'm not qualified enough this is the moment you need to pause and separate those feelings from facts"

3.) Recognize When There's A Valid Cause For Feeling Fraudulent

An example Vasavi used is walking into a room and being the only person of color, or the only woman in the room, or perhaps the only person in your industry to do what you're doing. These are all valid reasons to feel fraudulent or as if you don't belong there. This is doesn't mean you don't belong there. It's valid to feel fraudulent but that doesn't mean it's a fact which ties back to tip 2.

I use to struggle with this when I'd go to wedding expos, or entered food contests like chili cook-offs. I would consistently feel like I didn't belong there, certainly, everyone else was far more qualified than me to be there. However in the end it didn't change the fact that I am a really good cook and baker, I had many friends and family members who specifically request my food, I've run my in-home bakery for 7 years and held jobs as a cook. There are no facts that say I am not qualified or that back up my feelings of being fraudulent. The same goes for being a mom. I use to constantly say and think that other moms were doing way better than I, I remember one day trying to do a footprint craft with my son who at the time was only 9 months old. I can't express how much of a nightmare that was. He was not happy with paint on his feet and 20 sheets of paper later I didn't have a single useable footprint. Cue the imposter thoughts.

"Other moms can do crafts with their kids why can't I "

"Other mom's wouldn't have a crying baby"

"I'm doing this all wrong"

The facts are that my baby had a sensory processing disorder I didn't yet know about, my baby just really didn't like paint, and yes other moms HAVE had a crying baby while trying to do crafts some moms do their footprint crafts while their babies are sleeping!

Of course, I didn't know any of this until later, but the FACT is that no mom is handed a manual for parenting, and no child is the same. This also applies to dad's too however imposter syndrome does tend to affect women more than men.

4.) Shine A Spotlight On Your Positive Trait's

Vasavi mentioned when she works with clients she uses a strength's based approach.

Using tip 4 is really about looking at what you are good at.

"Oftentimes the things we think are negative can be our most positive traits."

A couple of examples she used was being a perfectionist and being too emotional. I can't say how much this resonated with me because I have a blend of both. I want everything to be perfect but I'm also super emotional however as she put it these aren't necessarily negative. For the perfectionist sometimes that just means you want things to be very beautiful, neat and while being extremely emotional can be hard it can also make you extremely empathetic and relatable.

This is why it's important to enact tip 4 when feeling that imposter syndrome creeping up to think about and remind yourself about all the positive traits the things you're good at and hone in on and focus on those. This is important because as Vasavi said -

"Our minds like to replay things and convince us that the things we don't like about ourselves are why we should feel fraudulent or fake."

5.) Be OK With Making Mistake's

"Mistake's happening can be pure gold"

Mistake's are learning experience's and you can find a positive within them, instead of going into a spiral of imposter syndrome of believing that inner dialogue that happens when mistakes occur like "See this is why I shouldn't be doing this " instead of switching the narrative and looking for what you can learn from the mistake and how to avoid the same mistake again provides a valuable learning experience and sometimes even leads to the best breakthroughs and success stories.

The number of mistakes I made as a cake decorator and as a writer I can't count but I have learned from each of them. Publishing written work that isn't my best gave me the motivation to better myself and learn to write in a way that I wasn't able to before accepting the fact that it is ok to mess up and 1 or 5 or 10 mistakes don't define you or your career.

A quick exercise that Vasavi suggests and has also shared to her Instagram @Mynameisvasavi is to grab a piece of paper and make two columns. In the left-hand, column write down every single thing you're ashamed of, any mistake you've made, or anything you've perceived as a failure.

Then on the right side next to it. Write what lesson you've learned, what wisdom you took away from it, what is the gold in it. You have to look at your mistakes as an opportunity.

6.) Question All Your Rule's

All those tiny rules you've made for yourself,

"I should be polished"

"I should be perfect "

"I shouldn't talk about money"

What rules do you place upon yourself? I know for the longest time I use to say " I should be a different mom. all the other moms have this completely figured out. Or my favorite "Everyone else's kid listens to them." Now first while yes most kids do behave and mine aren't horrible. Every parent has had a kid not listen. These weren't standard's or rules I'd hold someone else to, so why was I hold myself to them. This can be applied for so many things but that is my personal experience with these self-inflicted "rules"

7.) Rewrite Your Internal Narrative

Rewriting your internal narrative is all about battling those subconscious beliefs that you're telling yourself and rewriting it. The best and quickest way to do this is to say it out loud by using voice notes, journaling, verbal journaling (Vasavi's go-to choice ) When you say out loud the internal narrative like "I'm not good enough" you hear it then can combat it by pausing and going " Wait, that's not true, I know that isn't true." and then you can rewrite the narrative and go

"Nope I have what it takes, I'm an asset, etc"

"Getting the internal narrative out helps you can address it and rewrite a better and more affirming internal narrative."

8.) Visualize Your Success

Visualization is something I've written about before. However, Vasavi mentions how this helps even more with imposter syndrome. If you can dig deep and visualize what it will feel like, or go like. You can show up with more energy and confidence and in turn, complete the task with an energetic vibration.

It also is like a mini hype up. tell yourself how valuable you are, your skills, how people will benefit from working with you.

I applied this a little bit before attending Vasavi's talk however I am still so happy to see this as a tip. I finally found a literacy agent to review my manuscript and yes there is always a chance I get a rejection letter, however, before ever submitting it to her I visualized how it felt to finally find an agent with an opening to accept manuscript's and also agreed to read the first 20 pages of my story. Being able to visualize this gave me the energy I needed to write a very well-written query letter while submitting the pages and allowed me to overcome my fairly severe social anxiety. If in the end, I receive a rejection letter I'm going to remember tip 2. Feelings aren't fact. I won't be over the moon with a rejection letter but the fact is that many writers and authors have received them. A rejection letter doesn't mean I am a bad writer it just means I am not what that particular agent want's to represent or maybe the story needs a little further development. The nice thing about rejection letters and literacy agents is that even when they reject you they typically offer some sort of advice for going forward.

9.) Acknowledge And Reward Your Win's

When we do win or accomplish things we expect it from ourselves so we forget to give time and acknowledge and reward ourselves for the things we do and then eventually as you continue on you start to feel that imposter syndrome creep in again. The subconscious thoughts begin to echo "I'm not good enough, I should have done more" and so on.

It's not that, you just haven't taken the time to acknowledge and reward yourself when you accomplish new things or experience those wins.

You need to stop and pat yourself on the back, it's not something that's taught more. You can be humble while still recognizing your gifts, work, and talent.

"Remember this isn't about external praise or sources, this is about you celebrating yourself, your wins, your accomplishments, overcoming a difficult task or time, signing a first client, and more. "

10.) Don't Wait Until You Are Unafraid

"Most time's people wait until fear dissipates to do something or take action. Your fear is there to keep you safe and comfortable. It will always be there until you take action and prove yourself wrong. If you wait for being unafraid then you will be waiting forever. "-Vasavi Kumar

Take Nike's advice and just do it!

Overcoming fear and taking action can lead to great experiences and success.

Vasavi also discussed how important it is to surround yourself with a variety of people but most importantly people who are different and willing to step outside the comfort zone. The risk taker's because if you surround yourself with fearful people that fear will just bounce back and forth between all of you.

I embraced tip 10 with both my writing and starting either of my businesses. I sort of woke up one day and was like well I'll never know if I don't try and if people don't like my writing that sucks but I love it and it's my deepest passion. I am happy to say that leap of faith and being unafraid led to people complimenting my writing, writing here on vocal and receiving tips as well as being invited to write for other websites and even magazines. That's not to say any of it has been easy it's just been worth being unafraid.

Here is a small infographic on imposter syndrome.

If you are still unsure if you have it you can follow this "map" to find out.

If you are interested in working with Vasari Kumar she has a community for women that is supportive and informative. Enrollment special goes until March 17th, 2021 however you can sign up and join her MIND Your Business community here and it includes a free 1:1 coaching session with her.

Overall I've struggled with imposter syndrome for quite some time and have tackled some of it solo before Vasari's talk however the talk helped me cope with what was left and learn new ways to embrace it vs trying to get rid of it.

I've always been a big believer in if you change how you think you can change your life.

Embracing imposter syndrome is almost, the same thing.

To get through the barriers of our inner dialogue and realize the success we've had or how it can be obtained by appreciating and learning from our mistakes. Help's us see ourselves in a better light in a more positive, affirming way. It makes us aware of the facts while also recognizing negative thoughts or self-talk and how to change that narration for the better and as Vasari ended her talk said.

"Allows us to shine bright."

I hope to join her community when my finances allow for it and do not doubt that it will be worth every penny.

You can follow Vasari Kumar on social media

And her website which is linked twice in the article.

My own social media account's can be followed by searching @Lilwritinghood on instagram,twitter, and facebook. I don't accept friend's request on facebook but you are welcome and it's appreciated to follow me!

I hope you enjoyed this article and appreciate any shares, hearts and even tip's! I equally just appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read it and hope you have a good day or night !


About the author

Misha Alsleben


Wife & Mom Fueled by ;

Caffeine & Gratitude, when I’m not writing you’ll find me raising awareness about our planets needs , in the kitchen ,outside with the family, taking photos or in a bookstore.

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