Playing Small: Why hiding your gifts is a disservice to YOU and your career
Is the Impostor Syndrome experience causing you to hold back, stay small, and not make the leap toward the life and career you truly want?
Some of the most innovative and amazing products, programs, and services came from a simple idea. At one point, someone had a thought, a vision, that resulted from a need they perceived to be under served and unfulfilled. Today I wanted to challenge you on a subject matter that may be difficult to discuss….playing small. You have big dreams, goals and desires — but somehow, find plenty of reasons NOT to pursue those amazing visions. I believe that dreams select US and not the other way around. Visions and dreams are created and then seek out a soul to attach itself to, in order to be manifested. If you have a dream in your heart, consider yourself blessed! Having a dream in your heart, is proof sent beforehand by God to show you that it’s already yours. You just have to act on it!
The Impostor experience comes with a plethora of reasons behind why you play small. Since you’re natural inclination is to presume that you’ve gotten to where you are now by mistake, luck, some other outside factor that had nothing to do with your intelligence and competence level; there are real fears around being ‘found out’ and ‘outed’ as the fraud you perceive yourself to be. You do not want to draw any unwanted attention your way, so you play small as a form of self-preservation — to manage the stress and lay low from the “No-Talent Police”. Dr. Valerie Young, internationally recognized expert on impostor syndrome and author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women shed insight into six ways Impostors stay ahead of the No-Talent Police that eventually cause you to play small:
Over-preparing and Hard Work – Making yourself sooooo busy with tasks and wearing your business as a badge of honor, making it nearly impossible for you to possibly step out and do something bigger. While hard work certainly pays off for those who are diligent, for the Impostor it’s less about feeling accomplished and more about proving that you are just as capable, intelligent and diligent as those around you – whom you perceive to be ‘real deals’. (The Superwoman/Man/Student, The Expert)
Maintaining a Low or Ever-Changing Profile – You have the potential to be highly successful but instead have chosen a line of work where you can be inconspicuous and autonomous. You also feel that you must be a chameleon in order to dodge the No-Talent Police, so you consistently change your path/direction to knock them off your trail. Changing majors. Changing jobs often. Moving every few years. (The Rugged Individualist, The Perfectionist)
Procrastination – While many people are guilty of procrastinating from time to time, an Impostor’s approach to this is a bit different. By putting assignment, tasks and projects off until the very last minute, the idea is that you won’t be as disappointed or self-deprecating if the outcome of the task isn’t stellar. Since you hold yourself to such a high standard, you will not accept anything but perfection. So, you put it off, then complete the task in a hurried and pressure-induced manner so as to explain away the less-than-perfect outcome later. (The Perfectionist, The Expert)
Holding Back – Low effort, not applying yourself fully, would prefer to fail under minimal effort to blame laziness instead of aptitude, You do not want to put in much effort and be vulnerable to the possibility of failure, so you take yourself out of the running, don’t raise your hand, don’t voice your idea, and just stay in your lane. (The Rugged Individualist, The Natural Genius)
Never Finishing – Always starting so much, but never really finishing due to fear around the outcome not being absolutely perfect. You talk yourself out of finishing, so as to avoid the shame of the possible failure, and fear of being criticized. (The Rugged Individualist, The Perfectionist)
Self-Sabotage – You know what you’re capable of, and you are clear on your qualifications, yet you still do things to undermine your competence and ultimately your success. Showing up late, not being prepared, not showing up to the interview…all real examples of self-sabotage. For the Impostor, these are real actions taken with full intention because your conviction knows better – but you lay aside your better judgment to avoid possible failure.
Do any of these examples ring true for your experience? If so, what is it going to take for you to break through these behavioral patterns and pursue that goal, that dream, that life? Schedule a free consultation with me and let’s tackle the factors that are causing you to play small. This year could be your break out year. Take a step toward your goals today.