5 quick tips - How to stop the impostor syndrome before it stops you
According to research 70% of us will feel like a fake fraud at some point and this is called impostor syndrome, it is a real thing. Some of the symptoms might be feeling like you are not good enough, you can’t do it, people will laugh at you, you feel like you don’t belong, others are better than you. Some of the side effects include procrastination, indecision, losing focus, and feeling stuck.
Any of those sound familiar?
I’ve gone through that, my friends have too and many many other people feel it every day. I know it sucks to feel stuck, that’s why I decided to share my experience with you.
Here are my 5 easy tips to stop feeling the impostor syndrome before it stops you.
1. Talk about it
Every time I feel like I can’t do something or I might feel like I’m not good enough I talk about it with other people. This helps me to basically hear myself and realize how stupid I sound. It is important for you to have that one person that makes you feel comfortable. You need to make sure that you can be 100% yourself with that person, you won’t feel ashamed or feel judged.
Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself! It won’t help.
2. The Janice philosophy
I learned this one not too long ago, my 6-year-old student taught me this and it has been the greatest advice in the world.
I have a 6-year-old student, her name is Janice, she’s Taiwanese and I help her with her English speaking and reading skills. One day we were reading a book and the word “embarrassed” came up! She stopped and asked me: "What does that long word mean?"
It was kinda tricky for me to describe it so I just translated it to Chinese and said: "It means 尷尬 (Gāngà) in English." She looked at me confused and said: I still don’t get it.
I went ahead and gave her an example: "Imagine you were in the middle of your classroom, everyone was really quiet, and all of the sudden you fart...how would you feel?"
She exploded! She started laughing so hard and finally said: "I think that would be SOOO FUNNY!"
I was running out of ideas so I gave her a second example: "Okay, imagine if you are jumping rope and you fall down in front of everyone, how would you feel?"
She went quiet for a little bit and said: Maybe my knee would be “ouchy”? And maybe my friends would come help me?
I quickly asked: "Would you care about what they were thinking?"
Janice responded: "How can I know what are they thinking? You can’t know what others are thinking, so it would just be my imagination."
My brain had a long pause and I realized that feeling ashamed and feeling embarrassed are both feelings that people have taught us. Feeling embarrassed is a product of our imagination. So many times we stop ourselves from doing the things we really want just because we are too scared of what people might think about us! From that day onwards, every time I doubt myself or I start imagining fake scenarios I think about Janice, I remind myself that everything is just a product of my imagination and everything slowly gets better.
Don’t let your head stop you!
3. Go check your past self
Sometimes what helps me is to find old old old photos of me, maybe 2-3 years ago. It helps! We are thinking so much about uncertainties we get anxious about the future without realizing that we already accomplished so much!
The person you are right now is probably not even close to what you imagined 2 years ago. Just like this, the person you are today will be very different from your future self. So go do some self-check, go chat with your old self, and don’t let the impostor syndrome stop you from doing what you want to be doing today.
4. You have to start anyway
Nobody was born being a doctor, nobody was born being an astronaut, nobody was born with skills. Every single body had to start from 0, so the only difference between you and the person who is doing what you want to be doing is that he/she started already. That’s it! The longer you wait, the longer it will take you to build a new skill, to get the job you want, to be the person you want to be!
5. Stay down to Earth
Understand that you don’t know it all and you don’t need to know it all. Once you accept that, it will be easier to tell yourself that you are learning and that you can allow yourself to “fail”. Failing is not wrong, failing just means you learned one thing that didn’t work :) You fall and get up.
If you still don’t believe that impostor syndrome is a real thing, go ahead and watch Marie Floreo’s video or this TED-Ed video that has drawings (easier to understand).
I hope you find my 5 tips helpful and easy to follow, if you have questions make sure to reach out to me through IG or Linkedin. Don’t ever let your head stop you from doing what you really really want.