If there’s one thing I understand better than most, it’s imposter syndrome.
You know the feeling – you’re getting started with your self-improvement, maybe you’ve taken a few successful strides, and you’re starting to see some results. But you can’t shake this feeling that you don’t really belong here, that you’re not really “worthy” of reaching your goals, that this isn’t really “you”. You feel like a fraud, a fake, a pretender… an imposter.
You do your best to push through it, but you can’t help but wonder, “Do I really deserve to hang with these winners, when I’m really just a loser?”
I’ll tell you a little secret: everybody else feels exactly the same way at first, sometimes even well after they’ve already achieved success. Imposter syndrome is a very normal human experience.
I have felt imposter syndrome with literally every goal I’ve ever achieved. Yes, every single one. Getting laid, getting strong at the gym, starting this website (especially!), becoming a coach/counsellor, earning money, BDSM, having 3somes. All of it. Every single time I start something new, I feel like a fraud, a faker, like I don’t really deserve to be working on it – and often those feelings last for a few months after I’ve already reached my goal.
My biggest “I’m just a fraud” feeling was when I first started trying to get laid. I joined the Good Looking Loser Forums and started an “Approach Anxiety Program” on there (a program to get you comfortable hitting on girls out in public during the daytime). The entire time I felt like I didn’t belong (even though everyone was extremely encouraging) – I was convinced I wasn’t good enough to hang with the big boys.
And I didn’t just feel like I was a fraud. No, I was convinced I was a fraud – I was terrified someone would find out my secret (that I was actually a loser) and then everyone would know, and I’d have to leave or something. So many times I wanted to quit because I felt like everyone there were all so cool, they were all players who got lots of pussy, and I was this gross, skinny-fat, pale little bitch with no muscle and bad style and awful male-pattern-baldness.
I felt too old to be there (I was 29 during the Approach Anxiety Program and 30 when I started really trying to get laid). I wasn’t remotely good looking at the start, and I still hadn’t gotten over my ex or figured things out with women – not to mention I had all sorts of mental issues dragging me down. I felt like such a zero compared to all these other guys.
I’d look at other people on the forums and think, “I’ll never be like them.” I was so utterly convinced I was an imposter amongst all these cool dudes that I wasted so much energy worrying about and stressing about what they’d say to me if they ever found out how much of a loser I truly was.
But guess what? I kept pushing, I kept doing the things I knew I had to do (improving my looks, talking to girls, working on my mental health). Over time I started to have some success, then a little more. I still felt like a bit of a fraud… but it wasn’t quite so bad as before. I kept pushing, started having some wild sex adventures, started trying BDSM, started having 3somes – and eventually I got to a point where I no longer felt like such a fraud. I had a moment where I thought, “Hmmm… maybe I am allowed to be a player. Maybe I’m not faking it any more. Maybe this is really who I am.”
I overcame my imposter syndrome, despite being so utterly convinced I never could. I still found success. Why do you think the motto of my site is, “If a loser like me can do it, you sure as hell can too.” If you’re working on improving yourself, you are going to have imposter syndrome, for quite a while. Just keep pushing yourself, don’t fucking quit, and the imposter syndrome will slowly fade as you start to rack up more and more successes.
All of my mates have told me they have imposter syndrome while starting a new venture. Most of my coaching clients tell me the same thing; “I don’t deserve to be here.” My girlfriend has felt like an imposter while working on every single one of her goals – even with stuff she’s clearly talented at. It’s fucking normal to feel imposter syndrome when you start a new goal – particularly if it’s a goal that requires you to fundamentally change or become a different person.
Accept the fact you’re probably going to feel like a bit of a fraud for a while, until you succeed & reach your goal. Often, it takes a few months after you’re successful before you start to feel like you “deserve” it and have truly earned it. It’s very easy to feel like the first one or two or three successes were just a fluke (particularly when it comes to getting laid.) “Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe this was a once-off. Maybe I won’t be able to do this again.” But keep pushing, keep improving, and after the 3rd or so success, you’ll start to feel like, “Those 3 successes couldn’t have been just a fluke…”.
It’s very easy to compare yourself to other people you look up to, and feel like you’ll never match up. Don’t do that. It’s very easy to feel hopeless and want to quit. Definitely don’t do that either.
If you’re going to be a dick and compare yourself to those who are ahead of you, then you also need to compare yourself to the average person out on the street. You’ll almost always find you’re in a much better position than the average person, even when you feel like you’re not good enough compared to your idols.
Give yourself credit for being man enough to actually tackle the things you’re unhappy with, and work on the things you’re insecure about, and fix the things that are holding you back. Give yourself credit for actually facing up to your fears, instead of running from them like a little bitch of self-medicating. The average person is not courageous enough to work on themselves; the average person is quite happy to sit in complacency and never do anything remotely noteworthy.
You’re better than the average person, just by virtue of reading this site and working on yourself. Give yourself credit for that.