Are we "Trick or Treating" Ourselves?

Are we "Trick or Treating" Ourselves?

It’s almost Halloween! This is the time of the year where we embrace all things spooky and get to take on a new identity. Pirates, ghosts, princesses, superheroes and all kinds of creative characters appear! For one night (or maybe more if you’re a real thrills and chills kind of person), we “masquerade” as someone other than our true selves. But is it really one night? Or, is the truth of the matter really that we walk around much of the time trying to be someone we are not and denying the capability, depth, uniqueness and competence that is in each one of us?

These feelings or this denial of your abilities is many times labeled as “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome can be described as an experience of feeling like you are not as competent as others see you and feeling like a phony despite any success you have achieved. Basically, it’s when you view yourself as a fraud. For some, this feeling can drive them to achieve more; but for many, it produces a constant anxiety and a constant sense of wondering when they will be “found out.” It’s as though you believe the success you have had has been purely due to luck and you can’t internalize or believe your success.

If you spend each morning putting on your costume so people don’t find out who the real you is, think about these thoughts and consider leaving your costume at home.

  • Check your rearview mirror – What you won’t see in the reflection is a trail littered with failure after failure. You’ve gotten to where you are based on past success and the failures you’ve overcome to reach your current successes. These successes were the results of your knowledge, skills, abilities, course corrections and wisdom.
  • Review the evidence – If your rearview mirror image is distorted, take time to review the actual evidence. Think of or review past performance appraisals. This tool is a review of your performance, written by your supervisor, and typically provides examples of your accomplishments and progress. This is DOCUMENTED evidence of the impact you are making!! You would not be where you are today if the evidence was all bad! Think about times people gave you positive and concrete feedback about a success you had. What is it that led to that success and how did it impact the person or the organization?
  • Check out your paystub and remember your job offer – You are still here! Your organization literally pays you for the effort and impact YOU are making. When you were hired, you were selected over other candidates because of your unique experience and what YOU would be bringing to the position. The company wanted YOU, they picked YOU, they are made better each day because of YOU!
  • Reverse the golden rule – Here’s a twist on an old adage we’ve all been taught - treat yourself as you treat others. Typically, we extend grace to others when mistakes happen. We don’t ruminate and judge them on the small mistakes or mishaps. Rather, we tend to see them in regard to their overall success and the impact it has had. This same way we look at others is often how they look at you…remember that!

If you are feeling like an imposter, you are most likely attributing much of your success to luck rather than experience, knowledge and effort. Try turning that feeling of luck into a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude is not based in comparison but grows from an attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for what you have accomplished and fills you with positive anticipation for what is to come.

Now, that is one of the best treats in the world!

Jeanne Heath is the learning and engagement champion for Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union. Ms. Heath has spent the bulk of her career conducting training within the financial services industry with a strong focus on technical and change management training during mergers and acquisitions. Jeanne has developed and implemented a dynamic onboarding program which immediately immersed new employees into the company culture of “positively impacting people’s lives” through an atmosphere of high performance, high accountability and high care. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and has earned her Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) designation.