Imposter Syndrome: How to Get Out of Your Own Way

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What if it’s a disappointment?

What if everyone sees me fail?

What if it’s a waste of my time, energy and resources?

What if this isn’t aligned with my ‘purpose’?

There’s a certain type of fear that makes you retreat. I had an opportunity pretty much appear on my doorstep — and I battled for weeks about whether to take it on. I wondered if I really had the skills to make it happen, and the question of whether it was aligned to my ‘true purpose’ haunted me.

For the first time in my life, this phrase 'imposter syndrome' tried to make its home on my doorstep.

I battled with it. And still battle with it. But one day, I simply chose to opt in. I said yes to the opportunity in front of me. And here I am: still breathing, much wiser and most importantly, not looking back with regret.

Here's what I learned:

1. Focus on what you have, not what you’re lacking

Focus on the areas where you are confident and feel affirmed. Even though I didn’t feel 100% qualified to step into the opportunity in front of me, I’d spent years building my skills in a related area. When I doubted myself, someone I admire reminded me of this truth — and it gave me the confidence to take the leap.

2. Don’t let the question of ‘purpose’ paralyse you

External affirmation is one thing, but we at the Inner Circle know it’s not everything. The most important question in our lives is the question of purpose: why are we here in the first place, and what we have been called to do as individuals.

It is wise to ask yourself this question and check whether the new opportunity in front of you aligns with your wider purpose. But there’s a thin line between asking wise questions and becoming paralysed by questions based on fear or inadequacy.

Pursuing a path of purpose is supposed to be liberating, so if you feel weighed down, this might be why. “Purpose is not a dot, it’s a circle”, there is room to experiment, and the only way to find out is to try.

3. Walk the road, and keep walking

That leads me to this ever-important truth: you never really know until you get started. It’s been 6 months since I took the leap and I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned what I do and do not want; what I can and can not commit to and most importantly — where I need to step up and improve.

Newsflash: we can't accurately see into the future. It’s only in actually walking the road that our vision becomes clear. If it’s still unclear, we keep walking.

4. It’s okay to change your mind!

Breathe. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. There’s nothing wrong with learning along the way, changing direction or stopping completely.

Continuing down a misaligned path just to ‘save face’ or avoid embarrassment is a prison. In reality, everyone is so focused on figuring out their own lives, that you’re only a topic of conversation for a moment. You and only you have to live with the joy or regret of your choices: so put yourself first.

Craft your own story, even if that means changing your mind a few times.

What next? From words, to action:

Here’s where we keep each other accountable: What is the one thing you’re going to do next to get this show on the road? Reply to this email or slide into the DMs. You can do this.

For more thoughts on discovering purpose and walking through the process, pick up a copy of my book: ‘Take What You Need’ (worldwide on Amazon and nationwide in Nigeria).