Meeting Imposter Syndrome Head On
By our resident coach, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, aka The Wellness Chief
It’s officially February. Which means we have survived the 700 days of January, all those challenges we set for ourselves (e.g., dry January, Veganuary, etc.), blue Monday, the waiting period for our next pay check and all else in between. Earlier this week as we at ladies who launch HQ counted down to the end of the month, we asked you what you had been up to this month. Which is where I want to pick this weeks’ column up from.
To me it felt like January crept up on us. Almost as if it came out of nowhere. I mean wasn’t it just summer 2019 a minute ago? How did the holiday season even land and how did we get to 2020? It could be that January is a month I have been torn between wanting to arrive, as Friday marked the day in which my out of office officially went on for the beginning of my maternity leave. It means I am now less than 2 weeks away from an arrival of a little human and the start of a world full of so much unknown.
As January inched to a close, I found myself going at a million miles per hour, desperately holding onto the normalcy of a job and career that I am so incredibly proud and happy of. Whilst at the same time the realities of the third trimester began to hit, with the extra weight going on me, the increase in baby brain, the mounting to do list in my personal life and the utter exhaustion from a severe lack of sleep, all making me want my leave to just begin.
But as I sat in the office past “working hours” on Thursday evening, I decided it was time to pen my out of office, which for anyone who knows me, knows I take quite seriously when writing. As I sat and typed away a very strange feeling came over me, which only got stronger as I set the timing of the message – to begin on Friday at 5PM and to go until a destination so far in the future I felt a pain of anxiety come over my chest. Once it was all set-up, I sat there and stared at it for awhile and then began to pack up to head and meet the hubby for a train ride home.
The whole way to the station to meet him I found myself agitated and almost unable to breath and it was only after meeting him and getting onto the train that I took my bag off, sat down, took a deep breath and literally began to bawl uncontrollably. The overwhelm of everything just started to sink in. And it isn’t that I am ungrateful for the milestones ahead, I am just so completely freaked out by the unknown that lays ahead, the lack of alignment / normalcy to my existing life, the ability to make it work, to know what to do and to survive all the ups and downs to come. Everything in its entirety feels so incredibly foreign to me.
So much so that amongst other things, I am realising that the thing that is niggling in my head most is the utter idea of imposter syndrome, whereas I feel so incredibly full of fear of not being capable of everything about to come my way and / or of the visions I hold in my head of the life I do want to unfold
All of which I know isn’t unique to me and / or my situation and in fact can at times feel as though it is on loop in all of our heads as we go through life, followed by all the questions that come with it – will I be found out? Will someone call me out on it? Will I screw up so badly that, that will be the end? Will I just not be able to keep up and as a result just fail and let everyone down around me?
Anyone with me on this? Anyone relate?
The reality is that imposter syndrome is really tied to the narratives in our head.
It is the running dialogue that keeps us moving in one way or another, whilst holding us back from reaching our truest potential. Unless of course we choose to accept that it is okay to second guess ourselves at times and that we are able to recognise that we are doing it. So that instead of letting our second guesses hold us back and / or allow us to beat ourselves up for even having them, we are able to acknowledge them, accept them for that they are, and allow the fear inside to drive us forward in the direction of what we really want vs. allowing ourselves to admit defeat on what we believe to be true (even if all the evidence does point in the opposite direction).
In the end therefore, maybe it really is about allowing our imposter syndrome to have a voice, to say what it needs to, so that we can look it dead in the eyes and I say I see you, I understand you, but actually the evidence shows that I am in fact capable of so much more then allowing you to swallow me whole. And then just like that, we allow ourselves to not admit defeat but instead move forward in the direction we wish.
Keen to give it a try? What are the doubts and / or fears in your mind? Do you know what is holding you back? Can you give all of it a voice, listen to it and then face it all head on?
Think in the quiet days I have leading up to the start of my new life, it is on me to start really working through the same questions I have posed to you as a community, instead of allowing myself to get lost in a sea of to do’s that have me avoiding facing those voices in my head.
Are you with me, in making the time to do the same for you as we begin this new month?
Here is to starting February by giving our imposter syndrome thoughts a voice, whilst allowing ourselves the courage to face them head on, allowing them to drive us forward in the directions we truly want.
To a reflective and courageous week ahead,
Arti aka. The Wellness Chief