THE BLOG
11/06/2014 04:13 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

Impostor Syndrome: How to Feel Confident When You're Out of Your League

* You're the newest hire on the team...and you're getting the biggest pay check.

* You've been hired to speak at a seriously high-powered event.

* You booked a recurring role on a TV series.

* You're one of the experts sitting on a panel of experts, talking to the peers in your industry.

* You've just found out you're a New York Times Best Selling Author.

* You've stepped into a leadership role & people are counting on you.

At first glance, all of the things listed above seem like blessings that anyone would GLADLY accept, with open arms.

After all...

You set goals to see results, right?

When you dream of your ultimate Dream Reality...you see yourself as someone who is powerful and confident, right?

You plan to be GREAT at everything you do...hence the years of preparation, right?

But...

What happens when the blessing comes "too soon"?

What happens when you find yourself among a group of your peers who you view as "out of your league".

How do you remain confident when it feels like someone is going to "find you out" at any moment?!

Impostor Syndrome: sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

This phenomenon known as impostor syndrome is something nearly EVERY successful person talks about experiencing at one time or another.

Psychological research done in the early 1980s estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds and other studies have found that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another.

People who have reportedly experienced the syndrome include screenwriter Chuck Lorre, best-seller writer Neil Gaiman, comedian Tommy Cooper, business leader Sheryl Sandberg, US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, and actress Emma Watson.

Even Albert Einstein suffered from the syndrome near the end of his life. A month before his death, he reportedly confided in a friend: "the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.

So...if you've ever experienced this...you're clearly in good company ;)

Impostor Syndrome begins to set in when your Ego gets scared.

The Ego gets scared out of it's mind when it sees change happening...especially when that change involves you stepping OUT of your comfort zone and IN to your power.

The Ego will try EVERY trick in the book to get you to come back into your comfort zone, to play small again, and to WAIT until someone else gives you the green light to finally step up and OWN what is already yours.

One of the Ego's FAVORITE ways to trick you into coming back to your comfort zone is getting you to believe that you are not WORTHY of being where you are. That you are lying to yourself and everyone else...and you might as well just give it up right now cuz it's only a matter of time before you're "found out".

Silly Ego.

It means well, it really does...but you can't let your Ego run the show.

So how do you stop the Ego in it's tracks + deal with Impostor Syndrome when it comes up?

Here are my 3 Steps to dealing w/ Impostor Syndrome:

Step 1: Call it like you see it.
The most effective technique to overcome impostor syndrome is to simply recognize that it exists. Remember, this sensation of feeling like you aren't enough is only in your mind. It's NOT real! It's a game that your Ego is playing with you...so take a moment to call it like you see it and tell your Ego you know what it's trying to do.

Once you take a step back and realize that this is merely a FEELING that you're experience and it's not FACT, then you can move on to step 2...

Step 2: Talk to your Ego
Picture your Ego as a younger version of yourself...a younger version that is just SO afraid to mess up or look bad in front of it's peers. Your Ego THINKS it's keeping you safe by tricking you into staying in your comfort zone, but this is your chance to teach your Ego that things can be different. Show your Ego that you can take BIG risks and still be safe/worthy/validated/Loved/desired...ALL that stuff :)

Check in with yourself...are you attached to the opinions of those around you? Is your worth attached to the outcome of the project? Are you worried that you'll be seen as a failure if you can't "pull this off"?

When you take time to get quiet and ask yourself what's REALLY going on...almost every time, you'll realize that FEAR is the source of your self doubt.

Step 3: Visualization Practice (aka preventative care)
This is something I recommend to ALL of my clients when they set a big/scary/way-outside-of-your-comfort-zone goals. Having a regular visualization practice is one of the BEST ways I know of to prevent Impostor Syndrome from ever setting in (it's also a killer way to manifest your dreams, quickly).

Here's how ya do it:

Take time to completely immerse yourself into whatever experience(s)/goal(s) you want to see happen.

  • What does it feel like?
  • What will it look like?
  • How do you feel while it's happening?
  • Who is around you?
  • What are you wearing?

Get SPECIFIC here. ALLOW yourself to fully experience this moment...and do it as often as possible. (Like, every day if you can).

Train your mind to EXPECT this scenario, so when it happens:

It feels familiar
It feels SAFE
It feels right
It feels like home...because you've been here before, many, many times.
To everyone else it may seem like the first time this is happening...but for you...it's as familiar as the smell of your mom's cooking.

When skier Mikaela Shiffrin was interviewed during the 2014 Olympics, she was asked how it felt to be competing in her very first Olympic Games...and her response was: "I've been here before in my head, for sure.To everybody this is my first Olympics, but to me, it's my thousandth."

Boom.

See...YOU can do that too. What is your Olympic game? What do you want to see happen and be able to FULLY ENJOY it when it's happening?

Picture it. Taste it. Live it. Be it. Own it.

It's your's...take it.

And when all else fails..."Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion." ~Rumi

Be inspired,
~ Jenn

Check out www.JennLederer.com to get more tips + tricks for co-creating the Life + Career of your Dreams