One of the most reoccurring setbacks that I’ve dealt with in the past was caring too much about what others think of me and letting that hinder action toward my goals. There have been times I’ve been afraid to pursue my passions because of this fear and sense of impostor syndrome. I’ve thought to myself, “Who am I to do this?” and feared being exposed as not as experienced or smart as people think. Impostor Syndrome is a psychological term for the reoccurring behavior of someone doubting their success. They think their accomplishments are due to luck or chance. They have trouble owning their success and fear being exposed as a fraud. Many people experience this and I think it’s common for the sense of impostor syndrome to grow as you grow. The question is, do you let it stop you from going after what you want?
It happens all the time. We let our fears and self doubt prevent us from taking action to achieve our aspirations. We ask ourselves Who am I to do this? Who am I to think that I’m smart enough, fit enough, etc. To overcome impostor syndrome, you need to believe you are worthy of whatever it is you are setting out to do. If you are putting in the work and showing up, you deserve to be there. You don’t need to have it all figured out or be perfect before you start.
Social media has always been seen as a business platform to me. When Instagram started gaining popularity a few years back, I was developing a passion for health and fitness and almost immediately, I was experimenting with how to put the two together. I had a separate “fitness” account and I started to gain a following. I remember being petrified when my friends and family found my fitness account. I felt so embarrassed. At the time, it was way easier for me to have random people follow me, rather than people I actually knew. I was convinced that the people I actually knew were thinking, “I know Monika and she’s nothing like this. Who does she think she is?” Even though I was a certified personal trainer and even though I did have friends coming to me for training and fitness programs, I still had this fear in the back of my mind that at any moment, I could be exposed as a fraud.
I think that if you make it your goal to satisfy or impress everyone, then you will always be living in fear and you’ll never be comfortable being your true self. It’s not your job to impress everyone. It’s not your job to make everyone happy. There isn’t a single person out there that is liked by absolutely everyone. When you put yourself out there and go for what you want, some people will come and others will go, and you just have to trust that those who don’t stay weren’t meant to be there in the first place. A natural filtration system will take place that ultimately benefits you in the long run. People love you for you, and authenticity always wins.
When we have this thought of being exposed as a fraud, we have to understand that there isn’t a separate group of people who deserve success. The world isn’t divided into people who are worthy and others who are faking it – we’re all just one people. Whoever you are holding in your mind to be more worthy of success over you, is still a person, just like you. They also experience the same self doubt as you do. Even 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.’ ”
Impostor syndrome is this phenomenon of people having trouble owning their own success because they doubt their talent or skill. They believe their success is due to luck or chance and they fear being exposed as a fraud. I had let it hinder action toward my goals for so long. Why? It’s the battle for self worth. I am so grateful that I am able to see and understand this now. It’s natural to experience this feeling and maybe it doesn’t ever go away completely, but when those thoughts resurface, I remind myself that I am worthy. I am worthy of success. I am worthy of following my dreams. I am worthy of having it all. I feel that deep inside, deeper than the layers of doubt, deeper than impostor syndrome or caring what others think.