Earlier this week I blogged about imposter syndrome (where you believe you’re a fraud and fear being discovered as such) and how it exists to make you doubt yourself and think you’re not worthy of success or achieving your dreams.
Part of what drives the syndrome is the thinking that any success is a result of luck and not hard work, ability or determination.
My discovery was that I have imposter syndrome – bad.
What is great, however, is that I now know what is partly feeding my self-doubt.
Yet that doesn’t stop the little voices from saying you’re not good enough, you don’t have the skills, experience and ability to climb 40 volcanoes. And on and on they whinge.
Whoa, hang on a sec.
This is where we need to step back and take a breather. I’ve already written about how I’m attempting to conquer my self-doubt by being aware of the negative thoughts, turning these thoughts more positive, and stopping excuses that hinder my progress. But now it’s time for a reality check.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment and in the dream, and we become so overwhelmed by the self-doubt that plagues us that we forget about the broader picture – namely, how we got to where we are in the first place, including the little steps we have already taken towards achieving our goals.
I for one am massively guilty of doing this. And then throw in a dash of imposter syndrome and I just say it’s all luck anyway.
But that thought couldn’t actually be further from the truth.
With my attempt to stamp out my self-doubt, I’m trying to recognise that where I am today and who I am is the sum of various steps and achievements I have worked towards and facilitated myself. Whether that be finishing uni with pretty darn good results (I did the study), or moving halfway across the world all by myself (I organised everything and overcame fear), or even having the means and determination to survive the recession and not give in to the temptation of returning to New Zealand (I lived on a strict budget that I established).
When it comes to the volcanoes, I can be proud that I have at least started the quest and as yet I haven’t given up (even though I have thought about it numerous times). I’ve joined a mountaineering club to gain some skills and I’ve completed a navigation and map reading course, which has given me some outdoor confidence. I’m also learning about myself and how my brain works (or rather, works against me). And I’m currently planning the next five volcanoes I’ll be climbing in New Zealand.
In the year and a half since I started on this quest, I have gained skills and experience and grown as a person. That hasn’t come about through luck or wishful thinking. It’s because I’ve put my mind and body to it. And as a result, I’ve taken little steps and achieved small goals.
When I look back and see this, and see how far I have come, how can I really justify and believe the self-doubt and that voice that says ‘you can’t do this’?
I am of the mindset that really you can do anything if you put your mind to it. The trick is recognising the progress you have already made and celebrating the fact that you did that, you achieved that; that it came down to your hard work. Remembering you have achieved successes and goals already through your own elbow grease is a driving force behind accomplishing future dreams. You know you can do it because, quite simply, you’ve done it, you’ve achieved things, before.
In many ways, you could argue that it’s easier said than done. But when you think about the logic of it, it undeniably makes sense.
And then you can really begin to visualise what you might be capable of.