Personal Brand vs Impostor Syndrome
When I first read about impostor syndrome I felt total relief. And not just because it was the one time a google search hadn’t diagnosed me with imminent death, but because I wasn’t alone in thinking everything I do and have done is a fluke. It’s actually like a massive club with some special VIPs; it’s said that even Maya Angelou suffered (and truly it is suffering) this syndrome.
It felt comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in all of my countless worries and often nonsense crippling self-doubts and thoughts. You know the ones, the ‘ I am not good enough to be in this room’ thoughts, or the “I won’t speak much at this event or meeting in case I say something stupid” thoughts and my least favourite yet loudest thought “ALL THE SUCCESSES, WINS & OPPORTUNITIES THAT HAVE COME MY WAY HAVE ALL BEEN LUCK. IT WILL ALL COME CRASHING DOWN SOON AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW I’M A FRAUD”. And it’s like the bigger the win or the greater the opportunity the worse these thoughts get.
Thankfully there are ways to combat these inner demons (aka inner douchebags):
“Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the brilliant”
One of the first things I had to learn to let go of was a strive for perfectionism. Something that I am still working on. The problem with perfectionism is that it is completely unattainable. You set yourself these wild and unrealistic tasks and goals, or focus on getting the most minute of details perfect. And then you obviously don’t make the crazy target, or you end up having to rush to finish, or even worse you don’t even start the project because you spent 70% of your time worrying over font size or something. So you tell yourself it’s because you’re rubbish at what you do and that all of the stress was just because you’re a fraud. When realistically you just prioritised perfectionism over everything else! This, my friend, is peak procrastination and honestly sometimes what needs to happen is that you need to just f-ing do it (sorry mum) and crack on so you can get the job done brilliantly!
“Do you boo”
Personal brand. Personal brand. Personal brand. I talk about it always. I’m becoming obsessed. But seriously, knowing who you are, what you’re in the world to do and why you are best placed to do it, truly does get those inner demons to quieten down (I wanted to say STFU but I can’t apologise to mum twice in one article).
I’ll focus on two areas of personal brand – Purpose & Personality – and how they’ve helped me.
Having worked on my personal brand (I absolutely practice what I preach) it has really helped me to stop diminishing the things that I do well by claiming that “it’s just luck” or “not that hard anyway” or that opportunities are just gifted to me by unfortunate fools who don’t know that I’m an impostor. Defining my purpose and putting it down on paper has really given me a clear focus and understanding of why I’ve been offered and grasped the opportunities that I have done. Figuring out what you’re in the world to do is really quite powerful.
I think everyone deserves to have that realisation of just how unique and awesome they are. Reviewing my personality – in terms of how I navigate things in my own way- did just that. Having defined it, I am now able to harness those traits and use them as my superpower. It’s important that what you write down is actually who you are. And it doesn’t have to be who you are every waking minute but it’s who you are on your best day. How could I possibly feel like an impostor when I know that the things I do, write, say etc. are authentic to me? I couldn’t.
“Acknowledge all of the feels”
Sometimes, even when you’ve done the work, there may be those days that you still feel yourself slipping back into old ways and those demons start piping up again. It’s annoying but it happens. So my last bit of advice is simple: acknowledge those thoughts but don’t let them linger. Acknowledge that they’re happening but remember it’s not real. You’re amazing. You deserve a seat at the table. You belong in that room.