Today, we’re jumping into comparison and imposter syndrome because this is what I consistently see taking people out. We’re going to talk about these together because they are soulmates. They trigger each other, and they are so tied to our inner critic.
How does comparison show up? See what lands here for you, a sense of I’m not enough, a sense of I don’t belong, something’s wrong with me. I’m doing something wrong, jealousy, resentment, shaming other people, you know they don’t deserve that I work harder, and generally not being able to celebrate others. Imposter syndrome looks something like this: being convinced we don’t deserve things, being convinced it’ll go wrong or that will fail, being convinced people see us as a fraud, or we’ll see our imperfections. These things can paralyze us. They might keep us from moving forward. They might have us in self-sabotage mode. Comparison is, by nature, self-sabotaging. It’s something that reinforces for us when we over-attached to it, and it breeds imposter syndrome. Not enoughness reinforces that we’re missing something, or we’re not competent enough or not committed enough or not achieving enough. We often compare to things that aren’t even real.
This is my personal story. A while ago, I sat down, and I asked myself, “Juli, who are you comparing yourself to?” This is what shows up. It’s comparing myself to who I tell myself I’m supposed to be. It’s a standard I’m setting for myself based on other people’s perceptions in my sphere. Let’s be real about the challenge with the sphere right now. It’s not just people we know anymore. It’s people we follow on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Clubhouse, Success Finder, podcasts, and TV shows. There’s so much available. We take that, and we internalize pieces of it that relate to who we tell ourselves we’re supposed to be, and it can be crushing.
Here’s the thing. Ultimately, it’s not about the outside world. It’s about you and you. It’s about me and me. It’s about a part of us that innately knows we’re capable of more, and we’re called to more. When we get into that space of allowing the outside world to dictate what more looks like, influence what success means and what drives us, what we should value, how we should show up, and how we should act, we give our power to that. Instead of to that little voice inside us that says, “Hey, there’s something else.” That quiet small voice turns into a distortion of what the world tells us and what we perceive that the world tells us we’re supposed to be.
The alternative is for us to get clear on what we want our purpose, who we are, and allow that to guide us to get clear on our values and what success means for us. Taking our power back takes an outsider to come in and say, “Hey, I see you, are you okay? What support do you need? How can I step in for you right now? How can I remind you who you are? How can I give you context on yourself that will help interrupt this pattern is showing up for you.” We get stuck in our own mud, and we can’t see our blind spots.
You must have other people who love you, care about you, support you, do not shame you or allow you to sit and shame, who will remind you of who you are, and to get you out of imposter syndrome when it’s more than just a blip on the radar. Sometimes it shows up, and it’s like, “That feels kind of icky, but I’m just going to do the things anyway. I’ll choose to step through the fear and keep moving.” Sometimes imposter syndrome is like a big dark cloud, and someone needs to remind you to choose to plant your feet in the middle of the storm that can be life, where the calm is and where the eye of the storm is, and say I will not be moved. I allow myself to feel the feelings, process the things, tune into my body, and ask what lessons it has for me. I permit myself to thank the feelings and emotions showing up because I know they’re trying to take care of me. I permit myself to step out of all that and back into my empowered state, into the better version of me and the healthier version of me, where I’m moving towards my next growth curve. We cannot do that in a solo game. We cannot do that alone. The growth curve is not without its bumps and its challenges. By nature, the challenge zone, of course, will have challenges, but they’re worth it.
Here’s what’s interesting about comparison and imposter syndrome as we do our self-work and build a stronger foundation of who we and what drives us, they seem to get triggered less often. As we build more resilience, we spend less time there. What’s great about imposter syndrome is it is an invitation that tells us we’re on the right track because we should be uncomfortable. If we’re growing and leaning into living our purpose, it’s not going to be convenient. Living our purpose is not convenient.
Here’s your reflection and where you get to do some work. What’s one place where comparison and imposter syndrome is showing up for you right now? What stories are you attaching to that situation? What are you telling yourself about it? What assumptions are you making? Who are you telling yourself you need to be enough? This is a personal journey. This is something that’s unique to you, depending on your wiring.
“Comparison breeds impostor syndrome.” – Juli Wenger
“Get clear on what you want, and allow that to be the guide.” – Juli Wenger
“You must have other people who love you, care about you, support you, do not shame you, and will not allow you to sit in shame. Who will remind you of who you are, and to get you out of impostor syndrome.” – Juli Wenger
You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can live past beyond your limits.