Impostor syndrome.

It is real.

On Instastories I’ve shared a little about wanting my actions to portray who I am accurately. My outsides need to look like my insides and I want my insides to be good (and not in the anatomically correct physiological way of blood and guts, but with heart and soul).

I want my motives to match my actions. I don’t want to compromise. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

I want to be a leader worth imitating.

But I’ve also mentioned the tension between wanting to be real, authentic, and uncompromising on the inside to outside, but this is tricky because the impostor syndrome keeps me from being a good judge of whether I am presenting what is real.

Am I a fraud, lying about myself and presenting a false, fake reality? Or am I struggling with impostor syndrome?

Impostor Syndrome

What is impostor syndrome? It is when you feel like a fake. It is when you feel like you just don’t belong in the space you are in. You don’t feel worthy to be given that role, that job, that responsibility, etc…

I feel like this often. It robs my identity.

Example: The Reach of My Influence

A marketer coached me to say that I influence over a couple thousand people. From one perspective that is true. I might not have a ton of followers, but between all my email lists, social media accounts, reach of blog posts, and people I meet in real life, I have at least that many people I influence. Maybe 10x as much, depending on who shares what and when.

But those who I have access to influence. . . do I really influence them? And how many of those numbers overlap?

It seems more accurate to say I influence a good 10-20 people. Or maybe just the five people who live in my home with me (and sometimes I don’t even influence them well!).

So, am I being honest when I say I have only a little influence? Or am I being honest when I say I have extensive influence?

If I want to stick with humility and make sure I am not a hypocrite, it seems like I might as well default with saying I influence just the five people in my home who matter most to me, and a handful besides. That makes sense, right? What would I lose by doing that?

identity theft and the impostor syndrome

Impostor Syndrome Steals Identity

This becomes a problem–that false humility–when it keeps you from walking into being the person you are meant to be and making the difference you were born to for. Which mind you, it does a lot.

You see, impostor syndrome is a thief. It wants to kill, steal and destroy your future. It wants to keep you from being fully alive.

True, often pride also is also a robber, and ambition unchecked can lead to a plethora of lies and cut-corners.

But, I am talking about what sometimes we are afraid of addressing–the fear from being all you should be. And just like that, our identity is stolen by the impostor syndrome.

Posers

You see, for good Christian girls like me, I am supposed to be humble, gentle, checked. I fear stepping out, because it isn’t my place (example: Confronting My Junk as a Christian Woman). This theme has been woven into my life and tied me down too many times to count (and for those of you who aren’t followers of Jesus, or those of you who are also caught in this trap, let me tell you–this fear of walking into your calling isn’t the way of God).

And this is why we have to recognize and overcome it. For impostor syndrome will always keep you from stepping into the space you’re called to step into because it tells you aren’t enough, it isn’t your place, you are a fake, and tells you that this specific area is for someone else who is more deserving. It stirs fear in your heart to choose different, or what you might perceive radical, or to put a name on something precious and fragile you’re sure it will break.

Impostor syndrome heckles you into thinking you are, or would be, a poser (as we would call the non-skaters and non-stop surfers in high school). I was always a poser. I am not sure I grew out of it.

Essentially, impostor syndrome hinders us. Even the most successful people feel it, from movie stars to top influencers, wondering if they are fakes (and maybe should quit).

So the question is, can I be authentic on the inside and publically, while being confident enough to own the space I am called to be in?

Will I let my feeling of being a fraud dictate my influence, reach, and being who I was meant to be and make the difference I was born to make?

What about you? What future and identity will you let the impostor syndrome steal from you?

 Imposter Syndrome

Note: This post was actually a response to this image. This woman seemed audacious, bold, and bright–in my mind she embodied all of the non-impostor syndrome I want to be!

Did you miss the first post in this series about getting personally unstuck (This year’s theme) because of impostor syndrome? Here it is: Fraud: Impostor Syndrome Pt. 1 and here is the next in the series– Work: Impostor Syndrome Pt.3

Fraud - imposter syndrome

Hi! Let me introduce myself with my lovely cheesy fake smile. I’m Elisa Johnston and this is where I base online (in real life I’m usually in beautiful San Diego, CA).

I’m here to empower you,  an everyday, super busy, normal person who’s figuring out this adulting thing and who cares about stuff. I help you to be an influencer who makes a difference in the world. 

Stick around Average Advocate and together we will move past the overwhelm of life and the despair of global problems, find your purpose, and discover what your best role is to change the world is. 

I’m no magician. I just encourage and guide as I  write, coach, speak, consult and start-world-changing things to help us move forward.  

In case I sounded unapproachable, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Besides empowering this community, I spend most of my time attempting to live intentionally in my faith (I’m a Jesus person), in my home (the husband + raising my three kids + adult kid), in my relationships, and being creative and adventuring wherever and whenever I can. (Ya, I might live in beautiful San Diego, but I’m always itching to explore.)

Now it is your turn…  What’s your story? 

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