I was shopping on El Paseo in Palm Desert, California. The marble sidewalks, the expensive and sophisticated boutiques... All this could potentially scare 99% of the people coming here, and it made me think of imposter's syndrome. So what is the connection with the $17,000 jacket? Keep reading or watch the video below for more...
As I am paying for a shirt that I bought that was $125 from the sale rack, the lady beside me ran her credit card for $17,000. And no, she didn't have a pile of stuff. She had about three items, and her total was $17,000. As I am trying to keep my cool beside her at the cash register, I'm thinking: "Oh my gosh, if only the people in this place knew that I don't belong here." And then, right after, I thought: "Actually, who says?" Why did I fall into the trap of feeling like an imposter in this moment? I had to quickly transform the negative thought and dig to find my internal conviction that my self-worth does not get measured or hindered by others.
It made me think about how this imposter syndrome affect us in many areas of our life. Very often, in our jobs, we get to fill a new position, or we get a new contract, and we feel like we might get “discovered”, that people might realize that we don't belong there, that we don't deserve this salary or this paycheck or this position, and that we just got lucky.
The thing is, the people that got you this position and are paying you, or gave you this contract, they believe in you. This is precisely what imposter's syndrome is: Them believing in you, but you not believing in yourself. Isn't it interesting that we don't listen to others telling us that we're amazing, but yet we listen to ourselves telling ourselves that we're not good enough? Why? That really doesn't make sense, does it? Why do we listen to ourselves when the voice is negative but not when the voice is positive?
That day, I bought one item that I needed (were there sooo many more that I wanted? Yes, but I did not “need” anything else really), but I had a lot of fun just walking around and noticing the cars: Bentleys, Teslas, Mercedes, Maseratis... It's a very interesting experience. And even though I did not buy a $17,000 jacket, nor do I drive a Maserati, I do choose to believe that I belong here! It is in my head. Could I buy a $17,000 jacket? Probably. Would I? Probably not as my values about “stuff” do not match the ones of the lady at the cash register next to me. So I'm going to have to start listening to the EXTERNAL voices, the people who do trust that I belong here. The salesclerks tended to my needs as if I would spend $17,000 on a jacket, so why don't I believe it as well? It is probably the same for you.
If you experience imposter syndrome sometimes, ask yourself: "Is this true? How would that feel if I did belong here? Actually, what external proof do I have that I do belong here? What internal proof can I remember so that I realize that I do belong here?" In the end, you do belong and would have advantage to start believing people around you that trust you.
Now, there's one more thing that I would like to add here. With the work that I do with Haiti, for example, there is no way I would ever buy a jacket for $17,000. there are so many mouths that I could feed with that kind of money. I have done the math for you: I can sponsor two entire classrooms = 47 children for an entire year to go to school and eat. As mentioned, my values are different as to how I use money.
Imposter's syndrome is not about what we can afford. This blog is not about whether or not you would buy a $17,000 jacket. To each their own. The point I am trying to underline here is about what we feel we are worth. When we don’t believe in ourselves, our business or the organization we work for are deprived from our full potential. We are not at our best when we doubt our own worth.
The next time somebody gives you a raise, or hires you, or actually gives you a compliment, or you want to apply for a position, make sure that you listen to the others who tell you that you are absolutely phenomenal. Change the voice inside your head telling you the opposite. You USED to think that you were not good enough, and now you're willing to LEARN how to listen to that voice that tells you that you are absolutely AWESOME!
WHO ELSE NEEDS A CONFIDENCE BOOST?
Are some of your team members not stepping into their full potential?
Maybe they could benefit from strategies to turn off the negative chatter in their head. That would definitely improve workplace performance. Maybe members of the professional association you belong to?
Let’s have a conversation so we can tailor a training or a keynote to your next team meeting or event.
Check out some of my previous blog posts...
"Do You Remember When?" Learnings from Denis Waitley
How to Find Balance in Life
All Great Speakers Were Bad at First