How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome as an INFJ

As INFJs we struggle a lot with knowing who we are. We have a tendency to be a different version of ourselves around different people, catering to what we think they want. A lot of times this leads us to feeling lost and confused when we try to figure out who we really are. When you don’t know who you are and what you are capable of, it’s easy to feel like an impostor. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can’t do the things that you want to do and feeling like a fraud when you try. 

This is what we call imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is feeling like you are not enough, feeling like you don’t know enough to share with others. It’s also feeling like you need to know more or be more, more educated, more experienced and have more credentials before you can do the thing that you want to do. 

When I thought about starting my own business this feeling of impostor syndrome hit me hard. Who am I to start a business?? I have no IDEA how to do that or even where to start!!  

It’s easy to say, “No, I can’t do that. It’s too hard.” Or, “I should go back to school and learn more about this subject.” 

But the problem with thinking that way is you won’t get over it by avoiding it or going back to school. Because 2 or 4 or even 6 years later, with all of that education, you will still feel the same way. 

And this could be in the context of a lot of different things, not just starting your own business but writing or anything honestly where you just feel like you’re not enough. Any place where you want to do something new where you just feel like you’re not enough you don’t know enough to be able to do it

How much do you really need to know

How much do you really need to know before it’s enough to share with others? What makes someone an expert? Do you really need to be an expert? Is that what your customers will want? 

I still feel imposter syndrome and I spent 10 years in college. Wouldn’t you think 10 years in college would be enough? But for some reason we still feel like we need to know more before we can share it with other people.

What do they really want? 

Think about the people you want to touch with your blog? Do they really want to hear from somebody who has a doctorate degree who uses really big words that they really can’t relate to and they may not even understand? Or do they want to hear from somebody that they can relate to really well somebody that’s a lot like them that has the same problems and the same issues that they have?

I know when I’m reading a blog or when I’m looking for advice I want to read something from somebody that I can relate to from somebody who’s at the same education level that I’m at. I want to feel seen and heard and understood and that’s the most important thing for me. it doesn’t really matter to me what credentials they have. it only matters to me if they relate to me and if I can relate to them.

Pluralistic ignorance

Pluralistic ignorance is the belief that people know more than you do. They act like they do, so you believe them. I believe them too. They must be the authority because they said that they were. But it’s not always true. In fact, it’s not true most of the time.

We don’t see the behind the scenes. We also don’t see how hard things are for other people so we assume that it’s not hard for them, that whatever they are doing just comes naturally. 

People have a way of selling that front as well. They want you to think it’s easy to make a bunch of money fast with no effort, and that their “natural” makeup look was effortless, when it really took an hour to get there. Just because we don’t see the struggle, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

I’m really honest

I know that part of the reason that I lack confidence at times is because I know what I know, but I know what I don’t know as well. If I don’t know something, my first inclination is to say “I don’t know,” rather than acting like I do. I just fall into the assumption that other people know more than I do. But the fact is that a lot of people don’t.

I assume that because it looks like other people know more than I do that they really do. I know of my own failures and insecurities and because of those I feel that I’m not enough. I think that I shouldn’t do the thing I want to do because I may not be perfect at it or because someone else has already done it so much better.

The reality is that is so not true! No one is you. No one can do things the same way that you can or say things the same way that you can. 

Just because someone else has done something doesn’t mean you can’t do the same thing too. It won’t be the same, because you are different. There is plenty of room in this world for millions of people to write books and draw pictures and have an instagram about traveling.

Whatever it is that you want to do, you are enough. You have enough information to share it, you have enough experience to be able to benefit others, you have a special gift that you were born with to share with the world. It is enough.

How to get past impostor syndrome

Awareness that you’re not alone

The first step is to realize that everyone deals with this feeling, even people like Oprah and Beyonce. Just having that knowledge has helped me so very much. Remember that when you are feeling less than or when you are struggling to push forward. I’m right there with you!

Know your why

There is a reason that you set out to do this thing that you want to do. It’s an important reason and for INFJs it usually effects others. We usually have a goal of helping others in some way. Remember that why when the going gets tough. It helps to push through all of the doubts and hard times. 

Make it a habit

Whatever it is that you want to do, make it a habit. Make it something that you do everyday or every week. When I was starting my blog I made a goal to write a post every week. And I was scared and it was messy, but I did it and it got better as I went along. The more you do it the more confidence you will gain.

Connect with people who are doing the same thing

I know this one is hard for us INFJs, but there are lots of ways to connect that aren’t in person. 

Let me take a moment to put in a shameless plug here… I’m in the process of creating a community for INFJs and I want you to be a part of it. This will be an AMAZING place of us to connect and get advice and encouragement from people just like us who understand us. You can sign up to be notified when it launches (very soon) here.

Facebook is a great place to connect with people. You can find groups of people who are interested in just about anything. It’s still a bit intimidating to comment and message people, but it’s so much easier for me to do that than to talk to them in person. 

By connecting with people you can share your wins and losses and get advice from them too. You will feel so much less alone knowing that there are people out there struggling with the same things that you are. 

Remember that you are enough

Most of all I hope you remember that you are enough. You have something special to share with the world that the world needs! You were made this way for a reason. You are not an extra. You are not broken or messed up in any way. 

Your experience and knowledge is valuable. You don’t need more credentials to relate to people and for them to learn from you. You just need to show up. You just need to be real and authentic. You just need to connect with them. That’s it.

3 thoughts

  1. Whoa, this hit hard after our conversation! Thank you for the reminders ESPECIALLY the last 2 paragraphs!! The real MVP goes to you Sarah!

  2. This is kinda how I feel with my novel I have been writing since I was 11yrs old (I am turning 35 this year). So I get this.

  3. This is my brain!!! I am definitely my own worst critic and often feel that I don’t know enough to do something. I’ve seen this play out in my life so many different times. Working hard to silence the inner critic and remind myself that I am enough and it’s ok to not know everything!
    I’ve made big improvements in my work-life having the ability to admit that I don’t know something (even when I think everyone else does) but it still takes very concentrated effort! Hopefully it can spill over into my personal/writing life a lot more too.

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