More people experience impostor syndrome than you think. About 70% of the population reports experiencing it. The experience affects both men and women and yet we never talk about it to each other.
We all react to impostor syndrome in different ways. Some create excessively high expectations. Others just try to “get better” at whatever on their own because they feel seeking help is shameful.
I believe impostor syndrome or self-doubt is the biggest setback to goal achievement. You want to make more money or gain more clients, but you doubt you have the ability.
Today I’m going to give you a quick rundown on how to overcome your self-doubt.
Just Do It
You see, self-doubt isn’t as simple as “I couldn’t tell you how to convert ASPX file into PDF, therefore I am a failure.” Those kinds of skills are a simple Google search away. Impostor syndrome involves skills you’ve worked your whole life to achieve.
For me, it’s my writing. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. It’s been my dream to write fiction for decades. And yet when the time comes to put my work out there, I panic.
For you, it might be your career. Maybe you’ve built websites since you were a child. Coded programs, copied whole sites in the days of MySpace and tinkered with them until they were yours. Yet, when it comes time to make money with these skills and build your own brand, you panic.
You might search the internet for a solution to your problem. You’re here reading this aren’t you?
But reading this isn’t going to help you. Only action will propel you forward past your fears.
Treat Your Career Like Surgery
“I don’t think I can ‘wow’ this client.” “I don’t think I’ll gain the website traffic to make money.” “I don’t think I’m a good doctor and maybe someone will die under my knife.”
You better hope your doctor gets over their impostor syndrome. They don’t have a choice to procrastinate on your surgery.
Treat your career like surgery.
Offloading and Self-talk
How then do you practically propel yourself when you’re afraid and when you have a choice? For me, it’s scheduling. I offload my to-do’s onto a schedule so that I no longer have to “choose in the moment.”
People like me procrastinate because we’re afraid of the consequence of our actions. We’re afraid of the consequences because we doubt our own abilities.
Self-talk is huge. “Ok, Ben, we’re going to make x-number of dollars today so we need to get started. You’re a good writer. Others have told you this. Let’s go.”
Even when I’ve scheduled out my day, I still have to talk myself into working. My mind and heart are afraid to start, but I must prove to them they can do it.
You’re Not Lazy
I’ve experienced shame and guilt over my procrastination. I saw myself as lazy. “Just get over yourself,” I used to say.
Those were lies. There are practical ways to make your work easier and to avoid self-doubt.
As someone who has ADD, my problem was compounded. It wasn’t until I found tools like “A Smart but Scattered Guide to Success” that I realized I just needed to learned coping skills and structure my life.
You can do the same. Get up, schedule your day, and get working to work past your fear.