Midway through my hour with Merel, she told me I had it. Your copy is beautiful, you just have impostor syndrome. Gee, I do? I mean I do. I know I do. But does it even like me?
Yes. Your inner impostor loves you. It loves the grip it has on you. It’s got bad romance all over it. And you’re the sucker.
You know how all confidence stories are pretty much the same thing: hero takes on the world, hero meets adversity, hero gets help, learns lesson, finds inner confidence, hero aces it.
Every impostor syndrome story is different. But they boil down to two things: you need permission and approval from your customised Yoda. And until that happens, you’re in The Upside Down, dreading exposure. There’s no end to it. You have good days, but maybe you just got lucky. Bad days are confirmation.
Your inner impostor is a sales rockstar to a captive audience of one.
You know what else it is? It’s your inner confidence gone dark. It’s Spider-Man in a black suit.
It took me a second to realise the wonderful Merel didn’t have it. And that’s different from me snapping out of it.
Staying sober because you can and because you’re not that much into booze are very different things. It’s jaw dropping inspiring to see someone do it as gracefully, but can the addict do it?
This is not a high speed train to how love makes the world go round, or how tiny steps will take you to the moon, although they do. You’ve known that all along and the impostor handled both real smooth.
I’m not taking you to the land of fake it till you make it, either. I’m a tourist there, anyway. And I know for a fact my inner impostor owns this overpriced pasta restaurant there, with a view to the crowded piazza.
To snap out of it, you’re going to have to take some heat.
And it’s called Uncertainty.
What’s your inner impostor’s main pitch? What’s the mantra there? Variations of you’re not that good. As it seems. As other people who pay you the big bucks think. And other people who don’t, already know it. Etc.
To which the knee jerk is oh, but I am, I did this and that and everything in my wins notebook, and that’s just what I got myself to jot down. Action and reaction. You’re up for a short while, until the next blow comes. It’s a zero sum game.
Why know how good you are, anyway? Because if you’re good, you’ll make it, right?
It’s all about self image destruction and build-up. It’s temporary. It lays on top of this chunky layer called “You don’t know. You don’t freakin’ know. Nobody does. Not even your inner impostor.” And it’s that all the way down. Uncertainty.
And if you’re up for anything worthwhile, there will be uncertainty. A lot of hanging in there. A lot of reworking of the steps. A lot of searching for what works. Aim. Iterate. And aim again. Out there. Then something bigger takes over.
Merel has this amazing academy for women who play big. She powers up your iterations with olympic sales skills. It’s a killer opportunity. Inner impostor killer.
Before I hang up, she asked me in this soft paced tamer voice of hers:
What would you do this week if you were 10 times more courageous?
I’m over here iterating with guts. How about you?