When a colleague challenged me after I made a statement, I felt uncertain, a little bit panic… also I felt left shoulder and back heavy and aching. I could not focus on doing anything else for hours.
One day, another colleague reporting to me sent an email to me and many others. I felt my heart beat faster, somewhat panic… then shoulder and back aching. It took me a while to figure out why he sent such an email without talking or informing me first.
Then something similar happened and I noticed my immediate heaviness on my shoulder and back.
What is going on with me?
Why I was so uncertain and uneasy?
Am I intimidated by the challenge to my authority and expertise?
That is right.
I could not face my lacking knowledge, because my personal identity is smart and knowledgeable.
I could not embrace others to challenge my opinion, what if I was wrong? I considered myself is an expert somewhat in the area. I did not want to loose face.
I have severe imposter syndrome!
Therefore, I suffer from the syndrome. My shoulder and back pain have lasted for nine months.
One day, I decided to make a change.
I take three small steps a day: one is to listen to different opinions without rejections, especially those ones do not agree with mine; second I admit my ignorance once a day if new thing shows up; the last one is to keep my focus on the most important items of the day and let others go.
I was sweating, red faced when I started the baby steps first day. No one seemed noticed. I was relived.
I repeated this, again, again…
One day, I realize that I can do this naturally.
My raw vulnerability keeps me going through tough times. I become more courageous. I gain more connections, more trust.
Do I still have imposter syndrome? Of course. The good thing is that I can recognize it now. I am battling with it, it may be a long way before I can say my final goodbyes. However, it’s a road worth of taking.
To become raw and vulnerable is hard, a torture. It also let me reborn and courageous.