Expertise Isn't Fiction
No one is an expert at anything because there is always more to learn. That’s the norm with most tasks; it certainly is that way with business. Yet many who endeavor to start their own ventures, and even those who have entrepreneurs for a while, feel like their shortcomings define them. Because enough isn’t ever really enough. At first, this seems like a great motivator to strive to be the best and hit new targets, but eventually, this backfires. This is why so many people feel like imposters.
It is not fraudulent to take up a task and learn as you go, but to some, it might feel that way. Imposter syndrome and feelings of inadequacy come with many elements. Perfectionism is one of those things. A desire to get things right at the first try drives this aspect, especially if it a task that depends on “natural” competencies.
Natural competencies are attributes that some people may have a knack for, like analysis or design. Instead of judging themselves on what they can do and what they gave done, they put emphasis on the attributes that lack. It’s not enough to be sized up against others for commonalities, but also for differences.
If there are requirements for a position, it can feel uncomfortable to sign up if all the boxes aren’t checked. There is an ever-present need to be the right one for every job. Being less knowledgeable or skilled in some areas is difficult to deal with, and there is always a high likelihood of feeling inadequate when around those who share similar skill sets.
At the bottom of all these elements, it all amounts to one thing: a lack of confidence. It’s not that those with imposter syndrome are always unconfident in their abilities, but this lack of confidence appears when they feel threatened. Too much internal emphasis is placed on what makes them stand out; their expertise in one area or their ability to get things done quickly. If those things are shaken by an external force (criticism, being outperformed, etc), then internal alarms go off. It can also be used as an excuse to procrastinate. The need to gather as much information as possible before starting a project because nothing is supposed to go wrong. It takes preparedness to a different level.
Confidence-building activities are the best course of action. It’s one thing to aware of shortcomings and understands why feelings of inadequacies arise, but nothing changes unless action is taken. Taking on activities that are non-competitive can stress the process of learning and growing for enjoyment; this develops skills without the active comparison.
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