For as long as I can remember, in spite of my many notable achievements, I never felt quite good enough. Even though the evidence was there – lots of letters after my name: BID, MBA, CFA, etc. a six-figure interior design consulting business way back in 1980, a client winning an award for business excellence achieved through coaching and walking 800 km solo across Spain, I still believed I did not ‘measure up’ and continued to feel self-conscious and inadequate.
Those ‘not enough’ thoughts had me feeling anxious much of the time, fearful I would never ‘make it’ and using wine and retail therapy in an attempt to mask my emotions and feel better. Most people would not have guessed how insecure I felt on the inside. I was a master at faking confidence, however the pretense left me exhausted and discouraged after social gatherings and business networking events. I couldn’t really connect with people when my attention was focused on what I thought others might discover about me. I began to fear that no matter how much education I completed or expertise I acquired, that I would never ‘arrive’ at that imaginary place where I felt capable and worthy.
Our modern psychological model suggests I could blame my parent’s high expectations of me, or my critical mother or and an educational system that equated high grades with value and acceptability. I worked with several coaches and counsellors with a variety of processes and techniques – including becoming a master trainer in Emotional Freedom Technique. The inner work, processes and techniques did help significantly, however, the apprehensive thoughts hung on and I continued to struggle with doubt and indecision.
‘They’ say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. For me, it was an introduction to a new-found understanding of our how our minds work called The Three Principles. The Principles help me understand three concepts that completely turned things around for me.
Firstly, my impostor feelings were coming from my own misguided thinking about myself, not from circumstances, past events or what I thought other people thought.
Secondly, when I understand that I have thousands of thoughts everyday and that there is no way I can control them or attempt to ‘think positive’, I could roll with my emotional experiences knowing they were self-inflicted and temporary. The less attention I paid to my insecure thinking, the less it showed up
Thirdly, there is an infinite intelligent energy behind all of life. It is ever-present and working behind the scenes with all the wisdom and power I could ever need. When I quiet down my personal thinking, creative and liberating ideas arise and perfect answers to problems emerge in the moments I need them. I came to know I can trust how it works and rely on it absolutely.
When I realized that there was much more to me than my education, experience and expertise, I came to understand that I could stop ‘trying so hard’ and relax into knowing infinite wisdom is backing me all the way. I also realized that we rarely, if ever, get fresh ideas when we are overthinking, analysing or comparing with our intellectual minds. My intellectual ability is backed by my intuition and capacity to be open to insight and deeper knowing.
That’s how I moved beyond Impostor Syndrome – not by forcing myself to do away with my doubtful thinking but by realizing a bigger truth. I am informed, guided and protected by Wisdom. It’s true for you too. Relax and enjoy your work and life, it’s all being taken care of. You’ve got it and have had it all the time.