The law of attraction says that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. Whatever you give your energy and attention to will come back to you.

Lately I’ve been seeing a ton of content out there on impostor syndrome. Which means I’m either too focused on feeling like an impostor or I’m finally figuring out how to call it out when I see it. Fingers crossed it’s the later.

The more this subject comes up, the more it seems to be worth discussing

Women are undervaluing their worth in assuming that they aren’t legit enough and by assuming what comes easy to them isn’t high value to others.

Let’s stop doing that, shall we? 

My department is looking at how we can adjust roles so that we’re more efficient and able to produce at a higher level. As I’ve mentioned before, my team KICKS. ASS. The women on my team are straight up magic and there is no doubt we are top of our game. Having said that, there’s always room for growth.

As my team is evolving, so am I. As I’m looking at what I do best and what resources might help me do better, I’ve had to take a hard look at what I’m good at and why that is. And applying that critical lens to my role has made me think about how I think about my role and how I think about what I’m good at.

I caught myself regularly falling into one of 2 camps:

  1. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m winging this. And I’m one or two steps away from everyone knowing I’m a total fraud.
  2. What I’ve accomplished was “easy” and anyone could do it.

Imposter Syndrome

For the first camp, I had to work to remind myself that I have YEARS of experience and that I’m resourceful as hell. So even if I don’t know exactly what I’m doing 100% of the time, I’m still going to be awesome because I figure things out.

I recently attended a presentation by Darien Fleming who addressed a room of 30 pretty high powered women on overcoming impostor syndrome. (Seriously though, check her out, she’s hilarious and her presentation was fantastic.) 

The amazing thing about impostor syndrome is that almost everyone at some point suffers from it – 70% of the population! It’s not a phenomenon specific to women either. That 70% includes men. Crazy.

The good news about that is that it’s mostly a thought. And thoughts aren’t fact – which means they can be changed and molded. You can fight impostor syndrome and Darien gave out some great tips on how to do so.

  1. Call it out when you catch yourself doing it. 
    Your brain is currently programmed to think a certain way but you can change your thoughts. The first step is catching it when it happens and acknowledging it with something memorable.
  2. Counter the thought with new information – PITs to PETs. 
    Darien labeled these PITs (performance inhibiting thoughts) to PETs (performance enhancing thoughts). When you catch yourself with a thought like, “I don’t know what I’m doing” don’t avoid it, move through it. If I believe this, what will the outcome be. Then create a new thought that is more positive. If I believe that instead, what will the outcome be. A great example of this was one woman saying, I’ve been in IT for 20 years but I’m not very technical (PIT). If she believes that, then she might not have the confidence to do her job. But she could choose instead to believe that she’s been doing this for 20 years so she’s got enough chops to do the job (PET) or that she understands the strategy and she hires people to implement the technical pieces (PET).
  3. Celebrate the wins.
    It’s so important to celebrate the positive so you don’t stay bogged down in the negative. When you frequently celebrate the wins – even in small ways like a latte or a glass of wine – you retrain your brain to let go of the negative thoughts.

Professional Super Powers

In assessing my job, I would at times get stuck in camp #2 – it’s so easy. When I would get stuck on worrying about the things that were “easy,”  I was forgetting my super powers.

Things that seem easy to you are likely easy because you’ve either spent time learning how to do them or they just come naturally to you. Because they come easy to you, you assume that makes it easy for all versus a super skill you have.

My dad is the perfect example of this. He’s magical. He can look at a broken piece of machine (microwave, vacuum cleaner, heavy machinery, vehicle, you name it) and figure out how it’s supposed to work, how it broke and how to fix it. It took him years to understand that not everyone is born with that ability. He still doesn’t totally believe his kids when we say we can’t do it.

It’s his super power. And by assuming it’s easy and that everyone can do it, he undervalues the amazing skill set that he has. The same is true for your super power.

  • Maybe you can balance a budget or whip up a spreadsheet like no one’s business.
  • Maybe you remain calm and collected in stressful situations.
  • Maybe you can talk just about anyone into doing just about anything.
  • Maybe your ability to see the big picture means you can strategize with the best of them.
  • Maybe your attention to detail sets you apart from your peers.

Just today as I was sitting down to start mapping out this post, I saw that Amber Naslund put out an article, Imposter Syndrome And The Paradox of Knowledge and her article attacks the idea that easy means low value.

Amber suggests  reframing for when you don’t remember your super power:

The very motions that have become easier or habitual because of your experience, knowledge and abilities make room to learn new things since they’re going to be the hard things for a while.

Your value to an organization is likely due to your skillset and your resourcefulness. The fact that you find some things “easy” doesn’t mean you’re not working hard enough. It means you’ve got space to take on new skills and create more value.

And your ability to do a job – maybe one you’ve not done before – that uses the skills you’ve honed in your career is not faking it until you’re making it. It’s applying transferable skills.

When you undervalue your worth, you undersell yourself. You’re less likely to ask for a raise. Less likely to ask for that promotion. Less likely to apply for a job that allows for growth.

The law of attraction says we bring in what we focus on. So focus on being kick ass and valuing your skills, experience and super powers so that you attract whatever the next big thing is.

What are some reframeing tricks you use to remind yourself of your worth?


Photo by Siyan Ren on Unsplash