by Chanti Niven
As a young woman, I started my first business or to be more accurate, a great business opportunity landed in my lap. To my surprise it took off and I achieved unexpected success.
From a very early age I experienced feelings of rejection. I never quite felt good enough. For me, the obvious answer was to work hard for acceptance and approval. It was as if I wore a great big sign around my neck that read, "Please love me." Needless to say that didn't go very well.
All the while I ran multiple successful companies I continued to have this nagging feeling that I was nothing more than an imposter and that it was only a matter of time before I got caught out. My fear was that people would discover that my achievements were accidental and that I was nothing but a fraud. I worked harder and harder to gain acceptance. Ultimately this behavior did not serve me and I suffered serious health issues. It took a series of traumatic events and ultimately facing death and three years of blindness to see the error or my ways.
Eventually I took the sign that read, "Please love me" from around my neck and placed it on the mirror where it belonged. I was only able to achieve peace when I was finally able to love and accept myself. I always thought that self-love was vanity. Now I've learned that it's essential if you wish to fully love and appreciate others. You see, I was so self-conscious, I was completely focused on me me me.
When I began to love and accept myself but place my focus upon others, things began to change. Suddenly it wasn't about how others felt about me because it didn't matter. I often tell my audiences that I don't care about what they think about me and this fact frees me to care about them, without all that baggage. What they think of me is their business. What I think of me is mine.
Now I know that I can be whatever I chose to be and do whatever I choose to do. I have chosen to help others improve their communication skills and their lives and I find it incredibly rewarding. There is nothing quite so satisfying than knowing that you can and are making a difference.
I hope reading a little about my struggle helps you to take off the mask and be who you were meant to be. I know that there is nobody quite like you.
IMPOSTER SYNDROME DEFINITION
Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.