What is Imposter Syndrome Anyway? Plus My Top Tips to Kick It to the CurbAug 24, 2022
Truthfully, It’s a New Term For An Old Idea
You may have heard the term imposter syndrome being tossed around a lot in the last decade or so. I heard it recently again and had to stop and ask myself, “So, just what is imposter syndrome anyway?” This thought process kicked off a little research. I’m happy to share my findings with you because, as it turns out, imposter syndrome is just a new way of defining some old shit.
It’s essentially self-doubt. Low self-esteem. Lack of confidence. A belief that you do not deserve success. It’s this “voice in the head” that tells you that you can’t do something. The “imposter” gets in the title because it’s as if there is someone else saying these things. But, let’s be real here, it isn't anyone else, it’s YOU!
If you are suffering from imposter syndrome, you may feel that it is not based on your talent or skill, no matter how well you do in life or business. You are afraid that people will eventually discover you are a fraud… an imposter even, or that the imposter takes over and tells you that you’re not worthy (cue sad music).
Imposter syndrome sufferers need a lesson in self-empowerment and self-confidence as a cure.
An Old Idea From an Old Guy
As it turns out, on my journey of inquiry into imposter syndrome, I discovered something else that’s been around for a while that can help relieve the negative effects that imposter syndrome sufferers experience.
Ever heard of an author named Napoleon Hill? He wrote a book back in 1937 titled Think and Grow Rich that has become known as “the Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” You can find black and white videos of a dapper older man (Napoleon himself) on the internet talking about the book and the concepts contained in it. And if you want to read the book, you’re in luck because it’s in the public domain. (Here’s a link to an online version. Here is a link to a PDF version)
While Mr. Hill probably never had occasion to ask the question, “What’s imposter syndrome,” he definitely devised a pretty damn good formula for overcoming it. It’s called the Self-Confidence Formula, and if you practice the five steps contained in it, you’ll come about as close as one can get to a cure for the Syndrome. At the very least, you will gain self-confidence and attain some level of success, and you’ll have the tools to make it happen again.
I hope you find his formula as relevant as I did.
Let’s jump right in and discover Napoleon’s five tips for overcoming imposter syndrome.
One: The Self-Confidence Formula
I know that I can achieve the object of my definite purpose in life; therefore, I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.
Pretty interesting language, isn’t it? Remember, the book was published in 1937. What Napoleon is advising here is to TAKE ACTION and continuously BE in action toward accomplishing your goal. Persistence is key.
There are a couple of other points worth mentioning here.
First is the term definite purpose. I’ll go into more detail about that in a future article, so stay tuned. For now, make a mental note that having a definite purpose is important. If you have one already and you know what it is, great!
The other notable detail of step 1 is certainty. The statement is… I KNOW that I have the ability… That leaves no room for doubt because, as poet Suzy Kassem puts it, “Doubt has killed more dreams than failure ever will.” Here is a link to Suzy Kassem’s website if you would like to use it.)
So how can you go about eradicating doubt and being filled with certainty?
Let’s move on to point number two.
The dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward physical action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality. Therefore, I will concentrate my thoughts for 30 minutes daily upon the task of thinking of the person that I intend to become. Thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture.
Here’s where Mr. Hill tosses out a chunk of doubt-stomping wisdom. This is the big “secret” of manifesting our dreams. Whatever we think about, we create. Thoughts become things. So, with this understanding, we take it upon ourselves to concentrate our thoughts on what we want to manifest in our lives for AT LEAST 30 minutes a day. The more, the better. Ideally, ALL our thoughts are resonant with our “definite purpose.” The more we focus our thoughts on that definite purpose, the more our action will move us in that direction!
The third point gets a little more technical but is along the same lines.
Through the theory of autosuggestion, I know that any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek some expression through some practical means of obtaining the object or position I desire.
If you’re like I was, you have no idea what the hell autosuggestion is. If you do know, kudos to you! But for those of you who don’t, here’s how Mr. Hill defines it:
“Autosuggestion is a term which applies to all suggestions and all self-administered stimuli which reach one’s mind through the five senses. Stated in another way, auto-suggestion is self-suggestion. It is the agency of communication between that part of the mind where conscious thought takes place, and that which serves as the seat of action for the subconscious mind.”
Merriam Webster defines autosuggestion as self-hypnosis.
So, autosuggestion is essentially hypnotizing yourself into believing with your whole being (that is, all your senses) that you are capable of attaining your goals by convincing your SUBCONSCIOUS MIND.
Here’s the thing the wise man is getting at here: The subconscious mind is calling the shots. So, it’s not enough to just THINK about what you want. It has to be paired with the action of FEELING it too… using the five senses. That’s how you get the impression into the subconscious mind, so it will go about the business of transforming your thoughts into physical reality.
We are all hypnotized somehow, which is why we sometimes manifest things we CONSCIOUSLY don’t want. If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome or lack of self-confidence, you have hypnotized yourself into believing you are not worthy of success. Why not choose to hypnotize yourself into believing you can do anything you put your mind to and start manifesting your dreams?
Incidentally, my blog post about the power of thought resonates with Napoleon’s ideas if you’d like to take a read of that just to reinforce the information. This is good stuff!
Number four is another action step.
I have written down a description of my definite chief aim, and I will never stop trying until I develop sufficient self-confidence for its attainment.
There’s another new term: definite chief aim. I’ll go deeper into that topic in the next blog post. For now, you can start to think about what it is you want more than anything. Think BIG! This is not about what you think is possible. It’s about what you want, regardless of any doubts or limiting thoughts the conscious mind tries to throw at you.
If you know what it is, go ahead and write it down. And vow to NEVER STOP TRYING until you develop sufficient self-confidence for its attainment. Nuff said.
Step number five is where integrity and helping others come in.
I realize that no wealth or position can endure unless built upon truth and justice. I will engage in no transaction that will not benefit everyone it affects. I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces that I wish to use and the cooperation of other people. I will induce others to serve me because of my willingness to serve them. I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism by developing a love for all humanity, for I know that a negative attitude toward others will never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me because I will believe in them and in myself.
Got all that? Respect and appreciate others, give as much as you get, and maintain a positive attitude.
In a nutshell, don’t be a douchebag.
After asking myself the question, “What’s imposter syndrome,” I decided to do a little research. It turns out the simple definition for imposter syndrome is a lack of self-confidence. Napoleon Hill, a dapper old gentleman who published a classic book on success in 1937 titled, Think and Grow Rich.
In his book, he outlined five steps for gaining self-confidence. He called these steps The Self-Confidence Formula. Practicing these steps is a great way to overcome or even cure imposter syndrome. In a future blog post, I’ll go into more detail about finding your definite purpose and definite chief aim.
Do you believe you suffer from imposter syndrome?