A lot of self-help folks, gurus, etc., are full of advice for us. Advice like “fake it til you make it!” And, “speak it into being,” or “dream it and make it a reality.”
As someone who has a well-honed BS detector, this stuff makes me cringe because it feels exactly like the definition above – deceptive and fraudulent.
But still… There is a great truth in these cheesy approaches to reaching our goals: Envisioning success and trying out new things are powerful ways to actually change.
In other words, if I’m committed to learning and growing, at some point I am going to feel like an imposter because getting to mastery takes time and experience.
Think about the meaningful changes you’ve made in your life. The first time you got behind the wheel of a car, you were imitating a driver. You weren’t really a driver, not yet. Have you ever watched a child with a board book in her hands, pretending to read? Or observed yourself becoming better at a sport, or developing a talent like playing an instrument, or painting a picture?
When I first started running at 48 years old, I would alternate running one lap around the high school track, with walking another, building up my endurance slowly. One day, I ran into a friend there and he said, “I didn’t know you were a runner!” I quickly responded, “Oh, I’m not. Not really.” He argued with me, and he was right.
There is absolutely no way to get good at something without starting. No way.
So, if you are feeling like an imposter in your job search – because maybe you’ve never actually been paid for the work you want to do, or because you haven’t mastered it yet – you are not an imposter. You are just getting started.
If you’re questioning your capacity, or doubting your ability, I get it! But you do have a choice. You can tell folks that you aren’t very good at something, or you can say, “I’m getting good at this and want to do more.” That’s the opposite of deceptive. It’s honest.