The other day my daughter caught me talking out loud to myself. Once I noticed her watching me, I stopped, and then saw as her expression went from joyful to curious.
“Mom it sounded like you were talking to someone else, yet you were talking to yourself?”
I responded “Yes, I was debating with a very negative person inside my head.”
She then asked, “Sounds like a make believe character. Almost like a Disney villain. What does it look like?”
I told her “It should look scary, yet mischievous and cunning.”
She pulled out her ipad and started doodling on it. As she asked me more questions about its eyes, nose, and teeth, she kept drawing. I could sense something powerful happening and an idea forming in my head.
Knowing how well my daughter can sketch, I peeked over her shoulder and saw that she had drawn out the character with large eyes, looking as though it’s screaming. As I kept talking, she moved onto coloring it in, using shades of red and she added purple – colors of passion and rage.
Almost unwittingly, we came up with the drawing of my Imposter Monster.
This experience was an A-ha moment for me. By drawing out this negative character that lives inside my head, I could better visualize it and disassociate from it. This was a transformative way to think about my own Imposter Monster, and thus, I use this technique to also help my clients struggling with Imposter Syndrome.
The “Imposter Monster” is a symbol for the negative voice in your head, the voice that tells you that you are an imposter – a fake and a phony. It is powered through fear. The fear is that you will be discovered to be a fraud and not worthy of the accolades and awards you have been given.
The challenge is when the Monster becomes so big that it becomes difficult to control and gets in the way of your dreams and desires.
I encourage my clients to think about and draw out their Imposter Monster. For some, it may look like an angry version of themselves. For others, it can take the form of a gremlin, or any depiction of a negative character.
When you can visualize the Imposter Monster, you can better disassociate from it. It is not who you are – it is part of the many voices inside you and you can create other positive voices to combat it.
I believe almost everyone has a version of an Imposter Monster living inside them. It can eat away at your self confidence, and ultimately impact your work performance.
I have posted several blogs which contain many other tips on how to combat the Imposter Monster. Here are 14 other ways:
I have used many successful strategies over the years to battle my Imposter Monster and continue to coach my clients to do the same. I can help you too.
Aashi Arora, MHA, ACC