There's so much to be said about this topic because it opens up so many things for me personally and where I am right now. At the moment, I'm in this intense study of the nature of ambition and what I’m noticing in my own life and relationships as I step into this next era of contribution. Because of this, I’m being forced to face myself in some very powerful ways... the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing.
It's led me to create this series - Making Peace With Your Ambition. Wanting to be successful comes with so much baggage for many of us, whether we come from families where those around us have been very successful or whether we come from background where the majority of our people have not, and how we feel from this sort of ambivalence about achieving to this fanatical, almost maniacal obsession with “making it”- and what we believe making it will mean - there’s a lot in there.
So as we journey through this series, I’m going to ask you to start paying attention to your own narrative about your ambition and where you are in relationship to what you want, need and or feel entitled to. It's about owning the truth about who we are, the truth about what we want and the reasons why we think we can or cannot have it.
As I become more successful, some of the old habits and conversations become more vigilant and I say that to say there are always levels and stages to our evolution. We breakthrough only to reach the next barrier, so listen to very closely to where you are in this.
So let's talk about the Elephant in the Room right now. That Elephant is called Imposter Syndrome.
We are now in a world where its seems as if the rug is being pulled out from underneath people left and right as a daily exercise - sometimes very famous people, or captains of industry or people who’ve been painted as upstanding citizens. Then we come to find out they're flawed in some way. And as this whole cultural pastime of building people up and ripping them down is at an all time high, I’ve got to wonder if this dog eat dog environment is making you…well a little more timid about stepping out there with who you are and what you have to offer. We’ve heard the phrase Imposter Syndrome thrown about ad nauseam but is it really?
What is it? This term was coined by Pauline Clance in her 1986 book, the Imposter Phenomenon: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. It is described as a psychological phenomenon, where individuals are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Imposter syndrome is commonly understood as a false, and sometimes crippling, belief that one's successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill. We witness people who have been branded one way get “found out” as being another way and we just decide we’ll do anything we can to keep the glaring light of interrogation from landing on us. Statistics show that approximately 70% of us suffer from this concept on some level.
There are 4 primary feelings that hold us back: Each one is distinct, but they travel in packs!
There are layers of messaging that are internalized over the course of our development:
So let’s go over some of the consequences of suffering from Imposter Syndrome:
For some of us we see this behavior and we’re always fighting with ourselves like “why did you say yes to that? "or "why did you let him treat you that way?”. For others of you, you don’t even realize what’s going down until someone else points it out to you. For even more, you may not experience these issues until you start to get into bigger rooms with more massive players. Then, all of a sudden you're saying to yourself “that dude’s about to win the Nobel Peace Prize, what the heck am I doing here?”
Bonus: Find the humor in it all - start to believe that it will all work out and when you find yourself doing those things….just take a deep breath - and recommit to showing up fully as you!