When it comes to attaining our biggest dreams, we often tend to stand in our own way. Many of us lack the confidence that we believe we need in order to even begin taking steps to reach a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
The Imposter Syndrome
And even when we do begin to take risks and obtain our goals, many of us have what is called “imposter syndrome”—the feeling that we are somehow incompetent at what we do and have managed to fool everyone into getting to the position or role we are in; that we are basically a fraud.
Some of the most intelligent and accomplished people feel this way:
“ I have written eleven books, but each time I think uh-oh, they’re going to find me out, they’re going to find me out.”– Maya Angelou
Self Paralysis: “I’m Not Enough”
Debbie Millman, a designer writes about imposter syndrome: “we begin by worrying that we aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough to get what we want. And then we voluntarily live in this paralyzing mental framework rather than confront our own role in this self fulfilling paralysis. Just the possibility of failing turns into something self-fulfilling”.
Why Your Inner Critic Exists
This is why our inner critic exists: The ego is attempting to protect oneself from failure by playing a negative script that we aren’t enough, over and over.
How to Overcome Your Inner Critic
So how do we start to manage the inner critic and imposter syndrome? The following three steps can help you get started in creating a life of courage and meaning.
Step 1: Realize You’re Not Alone
Having an active inner critic is extremely common—you aren’t alone! According to a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people will experience impostor syndrome.
Step 2: Identify the Strategy—And Its Flaw
Recognize that your inner critic functions as a flawed self-protecting strategy, which often has little or nothing do to with your actual intelligence or competence.
For example, a study at Columbia University found that competent students tend to underestimate their class rank, while incompetent people tend to overestimate their class rank. This study then implicates that imposter syndrome is actually associated with success and competence!
Step 3: Follow Your Heart & Take Action
What is it, deep down, that you’d like to devote more of yourself to? Start doing more of the things you really want to be putting your time and energy into. Instead of focusing on whether you will ever be a famed expert as the road block, just practice enjoying doing what you love. You don’t need to know the outcome before taking action—that’s just the self-protective ego talking, remember? Give yourself permission to start now! By making time to do the things you value, you are valuing yourself.
Counseling Services: Denver, Centennial, & Castle Rock
If you need support in banishing your inner critic, help is just a click or a phone call away! Our individual counselors specialize in helping people like you find the courage to live your best life possible. Call today!