Will overcoming imposter syndrome turn me into the Hulk?
The short answer, is no. But let's break it down.
Imposter syndrome is rife. If you've ever thought, "What am I doing here? Everyone in the room knows more than me. Am I really good enough?" you probably have it. You may feel an almost constant fear of somehow being found out as not being as good as everyone seems to think you are.
Even outwardly confident people often suffer from imposter syndrome. Indeed, some element of outward success is a defining factor in having imposter syndrome. Famously, even Michelle Obama admitted to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt when promoting her book Becoming.
they "don't want to turn into a bit of a dick"But many people I speak to are actually fearful of overcoming imposter syndrome, because they "don't want to turn into a bit of a dick". Where does that come from? Perhaps it's that we're told repeatedly as children not to show off, not to stand out.
Here are four reasons why it won't make you into a monster:
- If you're not normally a rude person, then being confident in yourself and your abilities shouldn't turn you into one! If you are normally considerate then confidence won't make you inconsiderate - it often makes you more honest - and you can still be polite.
- Additional self-confidence can actually make you nicer and more considerate to people, because you don't feel like you have to be defensive or aggressive to get your point across. It typically puts you into a more resourceful, creative state.
- True assertiveness, for example, respects other people tooBeing able to "own" your own achievements and make a contribution to a discussion or meeting doesn't suddenly mean you automatically suppress everyone else's right to join in too. True assertiveness, for example, respects other people too. True confidence doesn't attempt to diminish the other person or make them feel less worthwhile.
- if someone has taken the trouble to say something positive then you are allowed to say thank youYou can accept a genuine compliment with grace. In fact, if someone has taken the trouble to say something positive then you are allowed to say thank you - which will add to their feelings of positivity. Just brushing it under the carpet can make them feel embarrassed for bringing it up! And accepting a compliment graciously is not the same as running around banging a drum going "I'm SO great!" No one likes a big head.
So, overcoming imposter syndrome is unlikely to turn you into the Incredible Hulk. Instead, think of yourself as Clark Kent turning into Superman or Diana Prince turning into Wonder Woman. They are already decent and compassionate. Their transformation just makes them more so, with added oomph.
Don't fear the change. Embrace it and stop imposter syndrome from holding you back from being your very own superhero.
If you enjoyed this piece, then have a read of my previous articles about imposter syndrome: