3 ways For Anyone to combat impostor syndrome
This post goes over mental health, please click away if it’s not your thing.
2020 has been one heck of a year. This year saw a pandemic, the world burning, murder hornets, and all sorts of terrible disasters. For my little family it included an international move, the start of my dissertation, and the birth of our first baby too.
All throughout this though I have been fighting a battle against myself. See, with all this time on my hands between not being in the classroom and the pandemic meaning I couldn’t really go anywhere I thought I would accomplish all the things.
I was going to:
- write a book,
- publish so many lessons,
- work ahead on my dissertation,
- learn Korean,
- have a fit pregnancy/get strong again,
- get back to running the way I did before having a baby,
- and the list goes on.
I was chasing all these positive goals.
Then I didn’t.
Like many people, I severely underestimated how emotionally and psychologically draining a pandemic could be. Not to mention being pregnant and having a baby during a pandemic.
See, it’ was so very easy for my entire day to slip by when my daily routines were disrupted: no school day, no gym time, no library. I would wake up, make breakfast, clean, make lunch, read (or realistically, scroll social media like a zombie) start dinner, shower, go to sleep. I distinctly remember days where I wouldn’t leave the house for days on end even when the virus situation was being well managed here. There’s something about having all the time in the world that makes the idea of doing nothing so much easier than being productive.
And all that idle time eventually led to me wondering: am I still a teacher?
I’m not in the classroom. And I haven’t been in the classroom since 2019. But I study and conduct research on school stakeholders, I still make lesson plans. Does that count? I apply to teaching jobs as soon as I see an opening. Does that count? Soon enough I started doubting everything about who I was as a teacher.
Which is a pretty damn dark place to be for someone who has dedicated her life to the field of teaching.
A quick Google search on imposter syndrome shows a bunch of articles showing what mindsets make a person more susceptible to imposter syndrome.
Among them are:
- Natural genius
Y’all know who you are. Trying to do everything to the utmost standard. And if even one thing and on a to-do list of 100 is left undone, then you feel like a failure. I saw this with my husband the most. He is a perfectionist in every sense of the word at work. He will strive to do his best and I have caught him going to work at two in the morning when he is having a bout of insomnia. Healthy? Nope. Something to work on? Definitely.
Superwoman/man types tend to try and push themselves so that they do not feel like imposters. They try to put in the most effort. I see moms do it all the time. I catch myself falling into this sort of mindset. I clean, I cook, I try to make my house look instagram worthy. All it ends up doing is making me feel exhausted.
Natural geniuses tie their self-worth to how good they are immediately at a new task. I feel like this has been me every since I was a kid. If I wasn’t good immediately at things, I would give up. It happened with guitar, salsa dancing, physics, calculus, just about every science class beyond the intro level, and it is one of the many reasons I quit pre-med, and I quit my nursing program.
Soloists are just that, people who think that if they can’t do a job solo then they are frauds or not good enough. Do you feel guilty when you have to ask for help? Do you find yourself taking charge or find it hard to delegate tasks? Maybe this is you!
Experts tend to be those people who won’t apply to jobs if they don’t meet all criteria, they want to know everything about a subject before they start, and don’t want to ask questions for fear of seeming stupid. This can absolutely apply, especially for people new to blogging. In the blogging world and education world there is a push to present yourself as an expert in your niche.
The thing is, I think in order to combat impostor syndrome you have to come to grips with reality. Sure you can plan out all these amazing goals, but life doesn’t always have that in the books, or maybe there’s something you need to develop about yourself before you get to those goals.
In 2017 I ran my first marathon. I had set out with a training plan with every intention of following it to the T. I consistently did my long runs, tried to keep my nutrition up, but there definitely were some weeks there where running wasn’t a priority and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy was. In the end, I managed to run my marathon (with plenty of planned walk breaks) and didn’t qualify for any shiny marathons like boston or new york. But I put in the work. I think the clicker for me was when I saw my work had paid off and i had reach my goal without a stringent plan of how to get there. And I think that is how I succeeded.
I gave myself a goal, but I gave myself smaller milestones along the way. I wasn’t hard on myself if I fell off the wagon with my plan, but there was a plan in place for how to tackle the goal.
2020 was definitely not planned out.
After all this reflection, I figured out 3 ways to combat imposter syndrome that have worked for me.
1) MAKE A PLAN
I think this is where I struggle the most. I am not the type of person who plans much outside of work or school. I like my days to be relaxing and stress free. After having a baby, I realize the benefit of trying to plan things out. Even going to the grocery store I need to plan around naps and feedings. To help myself plan, I am going to set up a planner for myself, whether its digital or physical, to achieve my goals. I am going to set up reminders on my phone to check in on myself weekly or monthly, to make sure I am keeping myself accountable. And I am going to talk to people about my plans to speak my goals into the universe and have another layer of accountability.
2) BE REALISTIC
Realistically, I am not running a marathon or becoming a millionaire any time soon. I am going to set out goals for myself that I can achieve, and that means seeing what goals I can achieve by myself, and which goals are unrealistic and depend on factors outside of my control. This year has taught me that any sort of sales goal I had is something that is out of my control. Better goals for myself need to be framed in terms of my own effort. Like making a certain number of products, updating a certain number of lessons, committing to writing a certain number of blog posts a week.
3) BE OKAY IF THERE ARE BUMPS ON THE ROAD
I keep having to remind myself that I am human. When I am reading about other bloggers or sellers on the internet, they are not at the same place now that I am at. They are likely years down the road on this journey where I am just starting out, trying to get a handle on things. I also need to remind myself that it is okay not to be the expert on everything new that I do. These big companies that churn our quality content on the daily are probably hiring out for things they can’t do themselves, so why should I feel like I need to do absolutely everything to perfection in my business? This season of life has also taught me that the important things are to remember that while my personal goals are important, so is spending quality time with my family, making silly memories, working on relationships just as intensely as I work on my business and education.
So moving forward, I am going to make a plan for myself on how to tackle every single goal I set out, I am going to be realistic about what I can achieve, and I am going to be okay if there are bumps along the way because I am human.
This post was proofread by Grammarly