Do you ever feel completely out of your element? Maybe you even feel like a fraud trying to pretend and be something that is beyond you? Well I definitely have. There have been moments when I felt that way as a mom, life coach, wife, Bible study leader… And I could go on. The fact is that all of these wonderful roles that we are called to- stretch us beyond ourselves and can make us downright uncomfortable at times! I am talking about a moment, situation, or ongoing role that just completely takes you outside of your comfort zone. You may feel like one moment you are in your element and the next moment that you are a mouse trying to be an elephant.
It’s that time when you have child acts out and is struggling to manage his anger and you don’t know how to parent him through that situation. It’s deciding that you are going to embark on an exciting new job, but when you get there the first day you think, can I really do this? Sometimes this is exciting but often it is so intimidating and uncomfortable that we just want to crawl in a hole instead of enter the uncomfortable.
In the entrepreneurial world, there is the term “Impostor Syndrome” to describe this feeling that can creep up on you whispering in your ear:
I can’t do it
I’m a fake
I’m not ready
I don’t know enough
I won’t be successful
I’m not going to be helpful to anyone
It’s time to shut down that voice that tells you, you are an impostor.
If you are someone that believes in God and has a relationship with him, you know that he will give you the resources you need to enter and thrive in this situation that makes you so uncomfortable. If you feel he is asking you to be in this situation, he will give you what you need to do it well. Ask him to give you the confidence and outcome that you are seeking for the situation.
2) Look at Past Successes:
We are often our worst critics. More than likely though you have tackled a similar situation or another situation that has given you the skills and resources needed to tackle this current situation. Remembering past successes will pull you right out of the mental loop of self doubt.
3) Seek out a Mentor:
Find someone that has been where you are, has moved through it, and been successful. Ask them how they handled the situation, what worked best, and what they think would help you conquer the situation
4) Talk to a Friend or Family Member:
This is one of those areas that you definitely want to seek support from your friends or family to build you up. Share your struggle and then let them know specifically what they can do to help you. This may mean helping you brainstorm ways to approach the situation. It may also mean: praying with you, holding you accountable, providing words of support, or coming with you to do that uncomfortable thing.
5) Make a Plan:
It’s easy to put off thinking about that uncomfortable situation or experience Instead, recognize the hard elements then make a plan of action that will move you beyond being terrified and stuck in this situation. Think about what resources you have that will help you in this situation. Brainstorm what you need to do prior to the situation to prepare, how you will handle the situation while you are in it, and what you need to tackle afterwards to do it well.
6) “Fake it Until You Make It”
I am guessing that you have heard this phrase before. It means to act and talk the part even when you doubt your ability to actually do it. When your thoughts have you doubting yourself and your abilities act the part and it will bring you to a new way of thinking. You can gain all of the knowledge and experience in the world and still feel like a fake. Sooner or later you have to take the leap and just do it. How do you do it? You take on a confident body posture, you speak confidently, you take on a positive and self assured tone of voice, and you speak confidently using the knowledge base you have.
7) Celebrate what you are able to accomplish
Often the uncomfortable things we are called to last for a while or comes in waves. It is important to recognize and celebrate the big and small accomplishments that you make along the way so that you can keep going. Celebration provides fuel and energy for you to keep going and it helps you recognize how truly capable you are to meet this challenge.
Feeling like you are an impostor or don’t know what you are doing is so uncomfortable, but it’s also good for you. It makes you relatable, helps you realize you need others, and causes you to step out to see what you are really capable of.