“I’m a fraud! After being a CEO of this food company and earning millions, I don’t think it’s my talent. I’m just lucky. I didn’t do it,” said Paul during one of our teary-eyed sessions.
Like most of us, Paul suffered from some painful aspects of self-doubt. He feared being found out. Psychologists call it the “Impostor Syndrome.”
The “impostor syndrome” is a psychological state that reflects a belief that one is an inadequate and incompetent failure. Such is despite obvious evidences of success or competency.
I’m comforted by this. For I too, like everyone else, feel waves of self-doubt on a regular basis. It comes through if I’m about to write a new book or blog post, meet a new client, or make a TV appearance.
It gets particularly bad when I procrastinate. It gets especially bad when I start thinking of comparing myself with other doctors and writers.
It seems inevitable that at certain points of our life’s journey, self-doubt will come along uninvited. For a ride. To our discomfort.
A solution? Welcome it! Understand it.
Writer Joanna Penn once observed, “In fact, if you don’t feel any doubt, there’s probably something wrong!”
When you feel that creeping “impostor syndrome,” acknowledge it. Don’t resist. Embrace the self-doubt as part of your growth process. Feel your feelings … then continue moving forward.
If you’re suffering badly from this and unable to improve, you possibly need to see a psychotherapist. Although friends can listen, there is usually a short shelf life for this kind of confession.
So, take deep breaths. And make sure you’re getting back to real life.