I’d never heard of imposter syndrome until a few years ago when I discovered I have suffered from it most of my life. So, when I ran across an article called “Impostor syndrome and how to beat it.” I was intrigued. 

I suppose I am not alone in this. In fact, I believe at some point in our lives we all have experienced some form of self-doubt, or at the very least heard a negative inner voice within that has held us back from achieving our full potential. Or perhaps we’ve had some small feeling or thought that has kept us from being the best we can be? Surrendering to these messages causes us to procrastinate, not accept compliments well, make excuses, and sell ourselves short if we sell ourselves at all. Some call this self-sabotage, perfectionism, or an inferiority complex.

I’m here to tell you to stop! Stop listening to the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough, talented enough, or educated enough. Just stop! Stop putting yourself down and stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique. 

I have discovered that to reach our full potential it is important to not only recognize these negative tendencies but to challenge them with positive self-talk and actions that build self-confidence. There are ways to get through it, to get rid of the mud, maggots, and mess that clouds our minds and stifles our possibilities. First, cut yourself some slack… stop judging yourself based on what you think is the norm or worse yet, what you suppose everybody thinks or expects because (as Henry Ford so eloquently put it), “whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re probably right.” But what does that mean exactly? What does growing mindset look like in comparison to a stuck mindset and why is it important?

It is important because, throughout our lives, we get to discover and develop our unique talents. Of course, we should also recognize our weaknesses, but we don’t want to stop there, to dwell on those. Instead, we must remind ourselves that they are temporary. You might not be good at something now, but if you want it, and believe it, you can get better. In other words, if you focus on the obstacles (weaknesses, excuses, etc.), all you will see are obstacles. If you focus on the path (strengths, talents, etc.) then all you will see is the path.

Girl, it’s time for you to shine. Starting today, I challenge you to intentionally act like the person you want to be. Because when you do your brain sees you take this action and starts to change the way it relates to you. For example, when your brain sees you compliment yourself in the mirror it thinks, “Oh, she loves herself. She’s confident. Let’s motivate her. Let’s don’t beat her up today. She needs to keep shining her light and making her impact on the world.”

Become your best friend. Everything in life comes easier if you’re not at war with yourself. Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. You wouldn’t talk to your friends or even strangers the way you talk to yourself so why do you do it to the reflection in the mirror? 

If you need help getting this, try making a list of all the things that you have ALREADY accomplished, of all of everything that makes you “you.” Go as far back as you need. Even start with basic stuff like “I learned to get dressed by myself. I learned to drive.” Move up to things like, “I know how to be a friend and a good listener” and work your way to your current accomplishments. Just make yourself the list. You will find that you are more and can do more than you’re giving yourself credit for. Add to it often, refer to it when those self-sabotage symptoms poke their ugly head, and in turn, you will discover that true motivation comes from within. No one can hand it to you, but no one can take it from you either. Your playing small does not serve the world, so replace the self-sabotage with self-confidence, shine your light, accept the compliments, and prepare to leave your mark.


© c. michelle bryant griffin

Photo by YI REN:

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