For me as a writer, one of my biggest challenges is to read the work of someone better than me. What happens sometimes is I read some beautifully pinned words and I think, “I could never write that well.” Unfortunately, I have allowed that very thought, those exact words to halt my progress of being consistent in my daily writing. If I don’t stop that one thought, it spirals into another negative line of dialog and before I know it, I have entered a full-blown episode of ‘Fraud Syndrome’.
I don’t think a person alive has not experienced fraud syndrome at some point in their life. It starts as that small niggling in the back of your mind that tells you that you’re not good enough. Even when you are standing on the same stage of leaders in your field of expertise, a voice may enter the back of your mind that you have no right to be there.
Novice writers all the way to writers that have pinned dozens of books all experience times of doubt in their abilities to either succeed in their craft, continue to produce high results, or make a difference. The question comes up is how does one overcome it? How can I stop this fraud syndrome from allowing me to exceed my self-imposed potential?
Nobody is perfect
There is nothing wrong with imagining more of ourselves then our current situation. That is what goal setting is all about. It is when we look at our results and are never satisfied with them enough to share, that we run into a problem. Perfectionism can kill your execution. When you start anything, you are in the beginning stages and will not know everything. As you continue working whatever craft you are doing, you will get better, you need to make mistakes. It is in our mistakes that we learn and grow. Perfection is the enemy of growth. Another thing to remember is that everyone has a different idea or expectation from perfection. All you need to do is put in the work, the perfection will come, evolve and grow.
Nothing is impossible
Allowing yourself to become overwhelmed with the end result is another part of fraud syndrome that can stop your progress. As soon as a person feels overwhelmed, they tell themselves, ‘I can’t do this’. Anything can be accomplished when it is broken down into doable steps and determination to see it through to the finish. Have you devoted a few days, weeks or months to get where you want to go? Perhaps you need a reality check as to how long is the success story you want will take you and then prepare the steps you need to get there. Realize that no one got a Pulitzer overnight. It takes years of work before you can look back and see the road you took that got you up the mountain you want to sit on top of. Remember, even men without legs (case in point Kyle Mynard) have scaled mountaintops. Don’t get in your own way!
Know your worth
If you can read these words, you have intelligence. An intelligent person who can read, and then write has the power to create any reality they want. If you know what you want to do then you can and have done it. Sharing your skill with others, meaning impart what knowledge you have, re-establishes your value. It is good to look to those that are more experienced to help you get better, but know that you know enough to contribute and help someone.
Control your thoughts
As you probably can see, if you have gotten this far in this article, that who you are and what you become begins with your thoughts. One thought leads to another, and then another. It is when you first connect with that negative thought of not being good enough that you need to stop. For me, I say out loud, “Stop it Ciecie”. I scream it in my head and say the words out loud. I then immediately follow that statement with, “That is not your story.”
Now if this thought comes to mind after you sat pinning a few hundred, or thousand words and read them to yourself, then you need to take a break and perhaps send what you wrote to a trusted friend or colleague. With a fresh set of eyes, they can give you a critique that would be beneficial not a lashing that your mind will give you because perhaps you’re just having a bad day.
Seek professional help
I am amazed at what a good therapy session can do for my personal self-awareness. The term fraud or imposter syndrome is neither new nor a product of your imagination. It is an emotional and mental condition that can be helped with therapy. Another word that may help you understand that you don’t have to live with such conditions is the word Anxiety. Imposter syndrome is simply anxiety and it can be put under wraps so that you can function to your fullest potential.
The conclusion of this matter is that we will always have some sort of self-doubt. It is when our thoughts keep us from contributing, learning, sharing and being a valuable part of society that we need to take steps to change. It is also important to be self-aware enough to know when you need professional help and be willing to get it. There is no reason to suffer the anxiety that keeps you unhappy and unfulfilled with life.
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