Are you afraid of being “found out” as a fraud? The lies your Inner Mean Girl voice feeds you.
First off, let’s talk about WHAT in the heck your inner mean girl is? You might have a really good indication about it but just in case, I’ll give you a little reference.
It’s that voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, young enough, sexy enough, smart enough... Take pretty much anything you’ve ever wanted to be and follow it up with the word “enough” - and you’ve got your inner mean girl.
That voice can also be downright nasty, speaking to you in ways and tones that you would NEVER speak to anyone else... Yet there that voice is. Snarky. Vindictive. Condescending. Bitchy. Savage.
It also can come at you with things like a constant worry that people will find out that you aren’t as smart, skilled, or talented as people think you are which leaves you feeling like a phony or a fraud. This is called Imposter Syndrome and it’s another way that the inner mean girl voice can wreak havoc on you especially if you are a talented, smart, educated woman.
Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet confided: “I’d wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud.”
Maya Angelou once said: “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ ”
Imposter Syndrome is affecting more and more successful women and it isn’t just a case of low self-esteem.
It’s a distinct pattern of unhealthy thoughts that makes suffers believe that their best is never good enough and their worries overcome them despite evidence of their major achievements.
This ultimately leads to burnout, anxiety, and stress related illnesses due to these damaging patterns of thinking.
Research from 2011 suggests 70% of people experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives and women are more likely to experience it then men. Most likely, it’s because women are playing catch up in the workforce. Some may even feel they have achieved their jobs to fill a quota or purely based on luck.
There are many ways in which Imposter Syndrome can present itself in women.
Avoiding extra responsibilities
Worry they won’t live up to expectations
Attribute success to outside factors
Go overboard with goal setting
Avoid asking for a raise
So how can you navigate through life with this nagging voice constantly creating a sense of fear of “being found out”?
Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Comparison is killing your self-worth. Stop it. No really, just stop. There is absolutely no good that can come from comparing your life, your body, your skills, your experience, your children, your income, your ANYTHING to anyone else. We tend to compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths or to what they have carefully curated on social media.
Instead, practice building yourself up by owning your talents, skills, and accomplishments.
Make a list of what it is costing you to listen to this voice.
What is the impact listening to this voice is having on you professional, romantically, personally? We tend to think that Impostor Syndrome comes up only in our professional lives. This is the area that is usually most dominant; however, this voice isn’t limited to only your professional life. Notice if it is creeping into other areas and what the impact it is having on you. What does it cost you to listen to this voice? How are you sabotaging yourself by playing small, not speaking up, or not taking chances? Where do you take on too much or go overboard in an attempt to overcompensate? What is that costing you? Is it causing you anxiety, burnout, or stress?
Don’t buy into it. Instead remind yourself how awesome you are!
Easier said than done, I get it. I’m writing this article from experience. AND I can share with you that every time you give that voice attention, every time you listen and buy into what it is saying, you are giving it your power.
Instead remind yourself how talented, skilled, and smart you are. Let that become your mantra. Walk around throughout your day reminding yourself of your accomplishments, your education, your skills so that you are focusing on the value you uniquely bring.