Have you ever felt like you have no right to be successful?
I mean, who are you to try that new business venture? To show people what you're passionate about? To show the highlights of all the hard work you've been doing on your socials?
Why should you create that blog post, write that book, or start that podcast? You're no expert. You don't even have a degree in this.
You're a fraud.
This, my friends, is impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome is a psychological belief that you're inadequate, even though your accomplishments and gifts prove otherwise. It's feeling like you have no right to share your fitness success story because you don't have a degree in exercise science or a license as a trainer. Or maybe you love blogging about all the things, but you're worried that hitting that "publish" button will somehow ruin your reputation. You love dressing up and getting that perfect shot for the 'gram, but you're embarrassed that everyone will think you're an egotistical jerk.
Does it sound like I'm speaking from personal experience? If so, then I'm nailing it.
Doubt has a funny way of creeping into our subconscious, convincing us that we're not enough. Not pretty enough to be an influencer. Not smart enough to be a writer. Certainly not savvy enough to make that hobby a business. In general, we believe that the meager talents we have are nothing in comparison to those who are successful in the game.
Did you catch that word? Comparison.
Ah, comparison... the age-old "thief of joy." We stop our own momentum in its tracks when we see someone else reaching the heights of success. And we convince ourselves that if we tried to follow in their wake, we'll be nothing but an off-brand copycat. So we shut up and blend in, because at least that way we're not publicly embarrassing ourselves.
Killing the Impostor
Even the most successful people have had to walk in someone else's footsteps. Just because you are following a pattern of someone you admire does not make you a fraud or a copycat. It just means you have a role model and want to reach your unique audience in a way that's inspired by someone you look up to.
The root of impostor syndrome is fear. You're afraid that people will ignore you or unfriend you. You're afraid that you'll be a colossal failure in front of everyone. What if people find out that you have no experience whatsoever? That fear of failure, abandonment, and embarrassment is real. I've felt it.
The difference between you and those who have found success is that the successful people took that scary leap anyway. They took a chance and invested in the business they dreamed of starting. They were turned down and gossiped about. Almost everyone doubts their ability, even though we were all made with unique and mind-blowing gifts. Successful people believe in that ability in spite of the naysayers and in spite of their own doubts.
In order to kill the impostor, you have to wholeheartedly believe that you have something valuable to offer, and that you can do what it takes to share it. Write affirmations about your best traits, your goals, and even the weaknesses you intend to overcome. Make specific goals and take steps toward making them a reality. Surround yourself with a community that shares your goals and interests and share your doubts and fears with them - you'll find that they've had the same negative thoughts, too!
The Real You
The you that you were meant to be is in there - you're just too afraid to let her live her purpose in full.
When I started this blog, I actually didn't make it "public" until about 6 months in. And even then, I didn't share it with most of my friends, because I was terrified that everyone would think I'm this wannabe, know-it-all, doesn't-even-have-a-degree-in-that writer.
But then I realized that writing is something I've dreamed of doing my whole life. Who cares if nobody reads it? So what if I lose followers who are annoyed with yet another blog post promo? At least I'm embracing my gift and sharing it in a way that only I can - because I'm the only me!
You have a passion - so chase it. You have something that is authentically, exclusively you - so share it! You are not an impostor, fake, or fraud, and you have value to bring to the table. Don't let fear stop you from being the real you, in all its daring-to-jump, embarrassingly-failing, wonderfully-unique glory.