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How to Stop the “I’m Not Enough” Mentality

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Have you ever felt inadequate? It turns out we’re not alone. Studies show that seventy percent of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome. The tendency to doubt our abilities and feel like a fraud was first observed by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1970. These two clinical psychologists found to their surprise that imposterism was most common in high performers.

Maya Angelou, the legendary poet, admitted, “I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” Albert Einstein, whose name is synonymous with genius, confessed, “I am an involuntary swindler.”But why is this? Achievers tend to set loftier goals than the average person. As a result, they experience a disproportionate amount of failure, forcing them to face their shortcomings.

Thus if you feel “I’m Not Enough” voice in your head, you’re stepping up to a challenge. Use the techniques below to overcome your doubt: 

Recognize If You Have It

The first step is to consider if you suffer from imposter syndrome or a short-term lack of confidence. The former is chronic; the latter is temporary. When starting a new career or endeavor where you lack knowledge or expertise, it’s normal to lack confidence. That humility can be valuable if it prompts you to get the help you need. But if you feel persistent inadequacy, even in areas where you’ve found success, it’s a problem. It’s diffuclt to objectively self-diagnose, so I recommend taking an online Impostor Syndrome Test to see if you’re at risk.

Personify Your Critical Inner Voice 

Your inner critic is the subpersonality that judges and demeans you. Everyone has self-doubt, but this voice shouldn’t be ongoing and debilitating. It shouldn’t contradict facts and objective reality. The trouble is that most of the time, the voice sneaks under our radar. It manifests in a subtle hesitation to speak up or to introduce ourselves. Our critic can be so faint that we might question if it even exists.Don’t let it hide personify your inner critic. How does it look and sound? What are the insidious ways that it tries to undermine you?

Consider the Impact on Your Life

Real change occurs when “should” turns to “must.” If you think you “ought” to get in shape, shore up your finances, or start dating again, you won’t. The work seems more painful than the consequences. But what if you flipped it around and started recognizing the pain of doing what you’ve always done? Consider how the imposter experience has held you back and kept you from the life you desire. What opportunities have you neglected? What experiences have you missed because you felt unworthy? What regrets might you have in the future if your life continues this way? The purpose of this reflection is to build an ironclad will to overcome impostorism.

 “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

Ask Yourself This Question

Once you’ve identified your inner critic, call it out. Let’s say it whispers in your ear, “You don’t know enough to get started.” Start by asking yourself: is this self-criticism genuine, and does it matter? Often, ignorance can be helpful when it’s paired with humility. It can lead to better questions, more listening, less preconceived notions. You also can typically learn things as you go. When I started my blog, I knew nothing about creating a website, marketing, or editing. If I had taken a course beforehand, I probably would have forgotten most of it. See how I reframed that weakness as a strength? The next step is to ask yourself: are my inner doubts productive? Even if the suspicions are valid, are they getting you any closer to your goals, or are they just noise? 

Avoid the Perfectionism Trap

Impostorism is closely related to perfectionism. The perfectionist sets a near-impossible standard for themselves in most activities. It’s essential to do your best, but recognize that you’ll never be or do perfect work. If you can never pass your bar, you’ll look at every effort as a failure, creating a negative feedback loop. Your inner critic will chide, “I told you so. You’re not cut out for this.” Give yourself a break; allow yourself room to fail. Do that, and you’ll find that your fear of failure will start to subside. The excitement of learning and growth will take its place. Another technique is to focus on the process instead of obsessing on the product of your efforts. You can control your habits more than the end product.

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”  John Steinbeck

Strengthen your Mind

If you wanted to get stronger, you would go to the gym and lift weights regularly. The same type of strength training works for our minds. Take time daily to visualize your success in the future as vividly as possible. It can also be valuable to cherish your past victories. Most of us reflect on what didn’t work out in the past; the tough breaks, the losses. Instead, think about the times you accomplished something hard for you at the time. It doesn’t have to be grandiose it could be the first time you rode a bike or drove a car. Or perhaps you aced a difficult test, graduated from a challenging program, or got a promotion. The point is that you proved to yourself you could stretch beyond your limits, and so you can do it again. 

Don’t Go it Alone

Remember earlier when I mentioned that 7 out of 10 people suffer from imposter syndrome? If you’re honest with yourself and others about this issue, they’ll likely empathize because they’re going through it too. They probably could use your help! Don’t hesitate to ask for help, and don’t wait to give it to others. Build a team around you that can support you and uplift you. There are plenty of places to find support: online communities, mastermind groups, mentoring circles. If you prefer 1:1 help, seek out coaches, mentors, and close friends. Hollywood glamorizes the lone wolf, a rags-to-riches hero that does it all themselves. It sounds cool, but no one succeeds alone. Every high achiever had a team that have helped them along the way,  build yours.

Chris is an accomplished sales and business development leader with experience at companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, and Dropbox. He went from being kicked out of high school twice to earning an MBA at UC Berkeley, and from being a pack-a-day smoker and aquaphobe to marathoner and triathlete. He writes about self improvement for knowyourbest.com.

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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