7 Signs You Suffer from Impostor Syndrome: #6 & 7

6. You’re not in the moment. You’re too busy feeling and not doing. 

When we allow our thoughts to wander, we can often over-think, over-analyze and feel lost. It is then that we see only the emotional and not the practical. I call it the “Self-Conscious Strikeout.”

That’s when our overly-conscious selves can throw us off—and possibly out—of our game.  It’s good to be self-aware, but when we overdo it, we’re aiming our bat at our self esteem and not at the ball that’s coming straight at us. In other words, we’re so focused on the fear that we lose the moment. And, that’s where we really need to be.

I have written about the sports psychologist, Harvey Dorfman, who helped baseball legends address fear by being and doing more in the present and talking and thinking less about the past or future. He understood how self consciousness could really screw up performance, and even had to help baseball pros dress in the locker room because they were frozen in anticipatory fear.

Dorfman felt the vast majority of issues a player had to face came from getting ahead of themselves in game situations, causing feeling to interfere with function. His mantra was “see the ball, hit the ball.”

He said that the tendency of the eyes to move ahead of objects they are tracking could lead to an over swing by the batter, as he over thinks, gets ahead of himself, and loses focus on where the ball actually is.

This doesn’t just happen to professional baseball players. This happens to all of us as well.

If we allow ourselves to be too self conscious, we’re too busy feeling instead of doing. We get ahead of ourselves with too much anticipatory anxiety and miss the moment. For imposter syndrome, doing is the best antidote. When we’re in the doing, we have no time to criticize ourselves. 

7. You’re up too close and personal, and need to take a step back.

Perspective matters. It’s like a Monet painting—up close, it all seems like a bunch of wild brush strokes that don’t seem to make sense, but from a distance, their true beauty and value are revealed to us. So it can be with our own lives and careers.

It took me a long time to see the value I brought to many companies and clients. I call it the George Bailey/It’s a Wonderful Life phenomenon, because we often de-value the positive impact we have on others. When George sees his life through the eyes of another, his perspective is positively altered forever.

We tend to personalize it because, after all– it’s us. If it was someone else’s life, we could see it objectively. I finally realized that if I saw someone else who had my career, I would think, “Wow—that’s terrific!” And now—I do.

I hope my own journey helps in letting you know that you are not alone, and, most of all, I hope it helps you in letting go of the syndrome to finally embrace success and find peace.

Here’s the thing about imposter syndrome (and the fear and anxiety that come with it): We have only a limited amount of time on this earth, and limited energy in each day. It’s our choice what we do with it. Gaining confidence is about gaining self-control: Do you really want to drain yourself and rob yourself of happiness and fulfillment, or put that energy to good use and feel great?

Whatever we focus on the most will intensify—so why not focus on the good? It’s what we tell ourselves that really matters, so stop lying to yourself.

Challenge and change those thoughts, so you can change your life. It is a wonderful life, after all.


Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

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