I am conflicted; I have too many interests. I go from journalism, yoga, and mythology to American studies. Now I study psychology, and have done some accredited courses on cult psychology. I’ve become a personal trainer and yoga instructor, while also -just yesterday- passing the Behavioral Change Specialist exam. In the meantime, I am researching all broad topics related to misogyny, feminism, men’s psychology, writing skills, and radicalisation. If that wasn’t enough, I learn Spanish (well, that is somewhat on the side), started writing a book and am now creating a course.

It is freaking much. My husband tells me every time, but I always thought he was exaggerating. But listing all of these things, this is not an extensive list, as I am also running a boutique little silk accessory line and have a husband and three dogs who like the occasional attention -not forgetting about friends and family here. And exercise, meditation, cooking and creating art whenever I feel inspired- I realise that, yes, there are dozens of things I do. And yet it feels like it is never enough. How is that, why is that, and; Is that bad?

As I reflect on the activities I do, I can’t help but wonder if there is some “I need to prove something” entailed.

I believe so. But who is that person that needs all that proof of productivity? Well, it is me. I want to know it all, and have it on paper (certificates, degrees and all that proof). Is there some self-worth issue behind all of that? I’ve reflected on it a lot, and I do not believe that I measure my value on my accomplishments. I genuinely love being busy and learning new stuff.

BUT: I also believe it would never be enough, that I need to get another proof of my skills and knowledge. That I could not speak out before I knew everything.

Imposter Syndrome

Now the problem is not that I do so much, but the problem is that I have an abundance of theoretical knowledge at hand, but I do not (yet) make myself heard. It’s an interesting observation I was making. And it needs to change. An instructor once told me that not sharing my wisdom with others is a “Dis-Service” to the world. At this stage, I do agree with it. And only here is where my self-limiting beliefs come into place. Who would have thought I was doubting my skills… I. And so many others.

There are many “types” of people who feel like imposters. I am the “Expert” imposter, as I always believe I need to know everything about a topic and am not there yet. The thing is, that there is not that absolute knowledge. Ever.

Intelligence, Wisdom and Knowledge are no end game but a process. And that process ought to be shared.

Characteristics of Imposter Syndrome

Why am I sharing this? Because imposter syndrome is quite common, especially in highly skilled people.

But let’s face it, doing more, learning more, and knowing more won’t do anything for us if we are scared to apply our learning. I remember my very first Muay Thai fight here. I have trained for years but never stepped into the ring to actually fight. I was amazed by how different everything was when I stepped into the ring. The rush of adrenaline, the intensity of punches… All of that, I would never have learned in sparring sessions. It is the same with studying and learning vs applying that knowledge. The theory can not keep up to practice.

It hinders our own growth, but also the collective one. And it is time to tackle imposter syndrome, as it prevents us from interweaving our thoughts, wisdom and knowledge with others.

Maybe you have imposter syndrome, too?

  • Are you unable to assess your skills and your knowledge realistically?
  • Do you think success in your life involves external forces rather than your own efforts?
  • Are you scared you won’t live up to the expectations of others or yourself?
  • Do you doubt yourself?

Suppose you are, welcome to the team. Now let’s tackle this together.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

I may be doomy and gloomy here, but honestly, I don’t believe we can overcome imposter syndrome and THEN start what we intend to do. The only way to overcome feeling like an imposter is by allowing oneself to DO feel like an imposter, and do what we aim to do, anyway. It’s like diving in ice-cold water. It will be uncomfortable, but we will feel amazing after.

To overcome Imposter Syndrome, we must allow ourselves to feel the way we do, and do the things we want to do, anyway (such as giving Yoga classes when we just got certified as a Yoga teacher, such as writing about the content that we are scared we don’t know enough about. By having our first counselling session as a psychologist and you may implement here whatever it is that you are afraid to tackle right now).

It will feel awkward, for sure. But we will grow into it.

That is a growth mindset!

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