“Am I good enough? Will I be found out that I don’t know enough? Do I deserve to be here?” With the fears, came the second guessing myself and overthinking. I called my successes luck and good timing. It was these feelings of self doubt that solidified further through difficult early work experiences.
Essentially, imposter syndrome is the fear that you will be found out as a fraud.
Self doubt kept me small. Kept my on the treadmill.
Until one day I started questioning that narrative I had created. This wasn't the life I envisioned. This wasn't the dentistry I connected with. From then on, I started a new relationship with fear - one that would lead me to exciting courses, conferences and more importantly passionate people. It helped me shape a BIGGER vision and the seeds of my future - empowering others on emotional resilience.
Below are the lessons I learnt from my journey.
1. Reflect on your “story”
We all have an internal “story” or silent guide that shapes our ingrained beliefs of the world and ourselves. Often, we formed these concepts as a child or borrowed them from parents, never to question or release them again. Its important to reflect on the themes of your narrative.
2. Noticing is the prequisite to seeing
The best way I find to do this is to simply ask yourself how you are feeling? What emotions come up? Where did this story come from? You can take time out to check in or psyhically write down your thoughts through blogging or journalling.
3. Observe thoughts without interacting
It is the emotions we attach to the thoughts that are most distressing when it comes to imposter syndrome as well as any critical inner voices. Stay with the narrative rather then interacting by asking yourself questions such as, “Is this thought helping or blocking me”?
4. Transform fear to compassion
Once you start noticing these limited beliefs, you can can start questioning them. Challenge the statements with loving compassion and kindness. “How true is it that you are a fraud?” Remember all your positive cases and comments. By forming a more balance view, your perspective will begin to shift.
Lastly, reframe the fear and the heaviness that comes with the emotion, to an opportunity to get curious of your limiting beliefs and an opportunity to move towards a place of faith. Everyone experiences failures but the act of not succeeding how you initially envisioned does not mean you are not enough, or worthy of your position. Reframing takes time to become a habit but with time you face the fear, you’ll spend less and less time getting lost in it.
Its a journey
My fears now centre around my ability to make a change and whether my efforts are making any difference. This year, I walk hand in hand with fear as I welcome creating my first conference. One that marries dental with mental wellness. My fear is helping me uncover my greatest wish – a mentally supported profession, and one where emotional resilience is discussed with transparency as much providing an epic composite restoration.
It is worth remembering, all the greats in this world had to battle fears throughout their journey. You may see the end product as a polished dentist at the peak of their career, but they too faced numerous hurdles.
They too live with fear beside them, pushing them from a negative space to one of growth and possibility.
Behind closed doors, and that facade, lies a story - a journey from fear to compassion.