Impairing the Impostor

Do you recognize those moments when you’re not being yourself? I mean in daily situations.

At work, with a client, at a meeting or a business lunch? Or how about with future in-laws (yikes!)? Or perhaps when we ran into that church pastor this Christmas, who we haven’t seen since … last Christmas?

How about when we write or blog, make a presentation, promote our business or even ourselves?

Or maybe it’s when we see that special someone. The one that makes our heart. Stop. For a moment?

Do we cover up? Do we push down that … something?

What makes us do that?

Okay, hello, this isn’t a rhetorical question. Say it with me now … 1 … 2 … 3 …

FEAR! I think….

No, I’m pretty sure that’s it.

We can feel it as shame and guilt, but foundationally, it’s fear.

So what do we do with that? Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? Look good, like we know what we’re talkin’ about. Yeah, that’s it.

In moments like these when we tend to compensate with a false front, we can be an Impostor.

Impostor? Really? I’ve not considered myself that before. Until I happened upon an article from Heather at, who said this:

The impostor syndrome is a limiting belief or insecurity that keeps you from sharing what you know because you feel like you might be “found out,” or feel like you’re a fraud, impostor, or you are not as good as you say you are.


That sentence punched me. Good. Really good. Sometimes you get nailed by a thought you’d otherwise easily pass by. Could it be that you’re ready to hear it? I think I was.

She opens her article with sweetness like, “Are you ready for a fun and very heartfelt post…?”

Then the next thing you know I’m reachin’ for denial. 

None to be had. She’s found me out. I didn’t know it was so obvious.

A chasm that constrains

I hesitate on a regular basis, to put myself out there, to be real in front of others. I hesitate to express what I know or am afraid of having you find out what I don’t.

I tend toward covering up in a blog post like this. Or in relationships. Especially intimate ones.

There’s a chasm between the ideal I feel I should be and what I fear others may actually see. No doubt that it’s an unattainable ideal that, in fact, primarily exists and grows because of the fear.

A false self, an ideal, our Impostor, tries to stuff down that fear.

From slight embellishments on resumes to competent Christianese at church to what feels like undeserved business promotion to unfinished creative endeavors to the closest of relationships … the Impostor gorges at the buffet of insecurity.

The wasteland of comparisons

The feeling, the belief, of not being good enough can reach deeply. I look at so many others who’ve done so well. Who have such amazing talent. Whose designs or writing or music or art motivate me to consider taking up a career as a Dog Food Taster.

And the Internet’s a contributor. It’s not my intent to minimize personal responsibility, but I find that if we’re prone to insecurity, Net comparison (for lack of a better term) can stifle, even paralyze.

For the compulsive-upside-comparers among us, the trap that Net comparison sets takes its toll. The term “Facebook Depression” has grown out of this comparison-littered superhighway.

But, bruising comparisons are a waste of time and emotional energy.

Recognizing what you bring to the table

So, shut it off. Give it a rest. You need to take regular “fasts” from the seemingly infinite information and so easily accessed, outstanding talent.

Take that time, schedule it, to work toward your desires and to nourish your own God-given talents. Yes, you do have them. That’s why you need to shut it off, so they can come out of hiding.

Finding your voice only happens if you sing. You’re not going to find it if you’re always listening to someone else’s song, with their style.

Everyone has their own style. Heather adds,

The key … is to take the information you’ve been taught, spice it up and add your style to it, and then go teach others!

The world needs to hear your voice. See your creativity. Your art. Your writing. Your perspectives. Your talents … whatever they are. And this can only be developed through use. Through doing. Not just by hearing. Heather again,

We don’t want duplication in the sense of cloning someone else, we want you and your style. I hate it when I see someone who has so much potential, so many gifts to share, keeping their knowledge to themselves instead of sharing it with the people who they might be able to help with it.


After this direction and mini-analysis (and some network marketing application) she drives the foundational message home with six vastly different arrangements of, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.”

The Beatles

Joe Cocker

Bon Jovi

Wet Wet Wet

Sam & Mark

Across The Universe

The song’s the same, but the styles vary greatly. In the same way that there are finite talents and means to share them and it’s in our willingness to color it with our own uniqueness that makes the difference.

We each paint with a different color, brush or stroke. We write our own story with infinite combinations of letters and words.

This world would be a gray place if there were only one way of painting, writing, or arranging, or using your talents.

And if there were only one you … or me.

Wrap whatever it is that you’re drawn to with your experience. Then let the Impostor know that they’re not getting in the way of your sharing it. You may strike just the right chord with another. 

In the same way that Heather struck me.

Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
– Romans 12:7 (msg)

By the way … Joe Cocker. Which is your favorite?

And how will you make your passion … yours?