A Birthday Impostor. How to Defeat Your Own Thoughts

I hope that this post finds everyone happy and healthy.  I am writing this post on the evening of my birthday, so I have spent the day reminiscing about my past and looking forward to my future.  I have been fortunate enough to find some level of success in my life and I appreciate all of the opportunities that this success has brought.  I am thankful for everyone that has played a part in my life thus far, and eagerly look forward to what the future brings.

dog celebrating the birthday of your home inspection company

Today I wanted to talk about a problem that I am dealing with in my life.  It is a problem that approximately 70% of all people will experience in their lives, often without even knowing that it is a recognized medical issue.

It’s called Impostor Syndrome, and it affects people in all walks of life.

It seems that, as humans, we are programmed to believe that we are the main cause for all of our failures and short-comings, while thinking that all of our successes must be the result of perfect timing, good fortune or, simply, dumb luck.  We are able to own our failures but find it difficult to believe that we had much to do with our success.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Suzy Kassem

Impostor Syndrome will cause us to believe that everything we’ve achieved has been gained through trickery, and that sooner or later everyone will find out the truth about us: that we have no idea what we are doing.

We all have that little voice inside of our heads, telling us that we are not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not young enough, not old enough.  The unfortunate truth is that, all too often, we believe what that little voice has to say.  We ignore the evidence that is all around us, that we are good enough, strong enough or smart enough to do the thing that we stress over.  We simply take the easy road, giving in to these feelings of inadequacy and letting the little voice win.

The fundamental cause of trouble is that, in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

Bertrand Russell

This type of thinking can lead to multiple problems in your personal life, but it can certainly be a death sentence to any new business.  We strive to grow our business, sacrificing our money, time and energy to make it successful, only to be undermined by our own thoughts.  We think that we don’t deserve to be where we are, that we are fooling everyone; that we don’t deserve to be in our position.

All too often, we are our own worst enemy.

So, the question then becomes: What can we do to get past this limiting belief and begin to think like the successful person that we truly are?

If 70% of people experience the feelings of Impostor Syndrome, then (obviously) the other 30% don’t succumb to these beliefs.  So, is there any difference between these people (who don’t feel like an impostor) and the rest of us?  Are they any smarter or more capable than we are?

The only way to stop feeling like an impostor is to stop thinking like an impostor.

Dr. Valerie Young

The truth is that the non-impostors aren’t any better than we are, they’re just better at ignoring the inevitable self-doubt that develops anytime we have success.  It’s human nature to minimize our success and maximize our failure.  Those thoughts are always going to dominate our mind.  It’s up to us to realize this is happening, and consciously decide that we are going to think otherwise.

When presented with a new opportunity to work alongside a group of your peers, instead of thinking that everyone else is so smart and you certainly don’t belong in this group, think about how great an opportunity it is to work with and learn from such a great group of people.

I seek strength, not to be greater than others, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself.

P.C. Cast

We must realize that fear is a perfectly normal response to any stressful situation.  Fear is what kept our ancestors alive when threatened by man-eating creatures in the forests of the ancient world.  But just because fear is a normal response doesn’t mean that we must succumb to it, never trying anything that causes us stress.

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent van Gogh

We can be afraid and still act bravely.  We can be stressed and still perform.  Without adversity, there cannot be a hero.  We can fail and still not be a failure.

a man jumping into his home inspection business

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.

Jordan Belfort

We are all wired to avoid fear; to stay in the shallow end of the pool where we think we are safe.  All we have to do is to stop thinking about everything that can go wrong if we venture out into the deep end and simply do it.  Take a chance.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  Maybe you’ll actually learn something along the way.

I welcome all feedback (positive and negative) about my take on this subject.  Please leave your comments below.  Thank you!

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I thoroughly enjoy creating these posts for you, the reader.  Please take a moment to comment, letting me know what you think about the topic, and passing along any of your knowledge to our community.  Please feel free to get in touch with me, letting me know if you have any specific topics that you would like to see covered on the site.  And please feel free to share this content with your friends.  The more people that we can help in their careers, the better!

Thanks, Joe

pic of me, Joseph Cook Jr, home inspector

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