The Best Teacher Ever

personal development May 10, 2021
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Imposter syndrome is getting a lot of attention these days. There's all kinds of advice on social media, blogs, and podcasts about how to beat it. Some even claim to have the secret to quitting or killing imposter syndrome.

I call "bullsh*t."

For the uninitiated, imposter syndrome is the feeling that, despite your accomplishments or abilities, you're really just a poser and pretender. It's the fear, experienced most energetically by high achievers, that being exposed as a fraud is imminent and will be devastating.

Imposter syndrome can manifest as perfectionism, workaholism, excelling without effort, being a lone wolf, or insufficiency. It's usually accompanied by anxiety, stress, rumination, or depression.

Does any of this resonate? Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well, it's not. The imposter is actually a very cleverly disguised teacher. Perhaps the best you'll ever know.

What the hell am I talking about? Hear me out.

"Who am I to stand up, speak up, or strive?" These are the essential arguments of the imposter. Imposter syndrome is trying to fulfill our existential need to belong by undermining our sense of worthiness. 

While this impulse helped human beings stay alive and survive in the past, it no longer serves us. Yet, because it is informed by evolution and inspired by biology, the imposter is not going anywhere.

What to do? Invert the relationship.

The imposter doesn't show up when you're humiliated and hiding. It only starts shouting when you're leaning into or leveling up in a worthwhile endeavor. The imposter is a compass helping affirm you're heading in a direction worth pursuing and that you have some work to do about your feelings of worthiness and belonging.

Reflecting on your imposter is an exercise in acceptance, humility, patience, and resilience and an invitation to rethink your internal narrative. 

What's your imposter telling you? What if you embraced it and invited it to play instead of trying to conquer it? How can your imposter be your guide?

Scott Perry, Difference-Maker Coach at Creative on Purpose.

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