Ever looked around the room and thought “How did I get here?” or “I’m not good enough to be here…” Ever been asked your opinion on something and thought, “Why would they ask me? What would my opinion matter? What would I know?” Ever been asked the secret to your success and answered – “I just got lucky”. Then, as a result of these mental responses, you felt like wanting to withdraw – either emotionally or physically from the situation? I know I have – many times!

Well, if you have ever experienced these types of reactions, congratulations – you are among (it is estimated) 70% of the world’s population that experiences the ‘imposter monster’. Put simply, the imposter monster infects people’s thoughts, making them believe they are not good enough, not smart enough and that the only reason they achieved that result was through good luck or chance. This monster creates negative thinking and self-criticism leading to thinking only about the negatives and not the positives. We start to worry about “that day” when we will be exposed as the “frauds” we think we are; leading to increased self-doubt, depression, anxiety and a reduction of joy and happiness. A consequence is that people may feel like they don’t fit in and are oversensitive to criticism – leading to all types of overreactions in behaviour and sadly, sometimes death. If this monster runs around in our heads when we hear negative feedback or gossip, we react as if it is true – even though we truly know it’s not!

We need to stop feeding the imposter monster!

My tips for slaying the beast:

  • Recognise that at some points in our lives, the monster invades most people. You are not alone!
  • Change your own inner voice. Develop a mantra or a little saying that reinforces positive reactions in your head. Let the first voice in your head send a positive message.
  • Accept mistakes and poor choices. We have all done dumb things and have failed in our efforts – I know I have. That doesn’t mean that I’m dumb or a failure!
  • Work hard at developing a sense of humour. Take what you do seriously, but never take yourself too seriously.
  • Life is hard and challenging. We do have to work hard to achieve objectives. If your objectives are easy, you have the wrong objectives. Don’t be fooled into thinking other people aren’t working as hard as you are!
  • On those occasions when you do achieve success by chance, ever heard of the expression – right place right time? Celebrate it and thank the universe for the favour.
  • Surround yourself with people who reinforce your positive self-mage and self-talk. This is critical, as often when are experiencing the impostor monster, we attract people who only want to reinforce it! Immerse yourself with people who, while they may still challenge you and “call out on your behaviour” at times, still have your back and want and believe that you will succeed.
  • Welcome feedback from your friends and community about your performance and seek ways to improve yourself. Never be fearful of growth and challenge. But never let that feedback stand in your way of growth.

You are good enough, you are worthy, and you are perfect just as you are – believe it and send that monster packing.