Of all of the behavioural traits that present themselves when someone experiences the Impostor Complex - that is to say: people-pleasing, procrastination, perfectionism, leaky boundaries, comparison, and diminishment - it’s DIMINISHMENT that comes up most often in my clients, readers, and audience.
Diminishment is the way in which we consciously dim our light. Dumb our message down. Take up less space. Play smaller. Avoid displaying actual confidence at all costs.
I suppose this should come as no surprise to me given the evocative language I use in and around “Stepping into your Starring Role." It’s INTENDED to be a calling forth of those hiding ever so slightly in the shadows off-stage.
Which is to say... YOU.
Diminishment is a nice and safe way to avoid feeling like an Impostor. No one can call us fraud, charlatan, or cast us aside if they can’t see us, right?
To be certain.
And of course, it doesn’t just look like staying off the metaphorical stage.
When you tell me that you were so lucky that the universe sent you the perfect designer, I will remind you that YOU made it happen. YOU took the chance and went on a coffee date and were open and willing and transparent. That YOU have built up a reputable business through tenacity and with excellence that anyone would be thrilled to be a part of. That YOU did your due diligence and knew what the market would bear and made the ask, even as you feared rejection. But yeah. Sure. It was the universe.
When you tell me that you are having a hard time filling up your Yum and Yay folder because “they’re just being nice” with their praise, I will remind you that nobody has time to just be nice like that and if they sent you a lovely thank you card because you helped them find a new way forward with the problem that they have been grappling with that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you ought to dare to believe them when they tell you how truly remarkable you really are. In fact, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you ought to take their words and add them to your testimonials page for the world to see truth.
Diminishment looks like discounting others’ praise.
Diminishment looks like downplaying our successful decisions and wins.
Diminishment looks like handing over credit where credit isn’t due.
Diminishment looks like hiding behind your clients.
Diminishment looks like a crisis of presence.
Diminishment looks like the opposite of sovereignty. (This is informed by a sacred conversation in The Starring Role Academy lead by my dear friend and guest teacher, Ronna Detrick.)
Now, you have good reasons for hiding your glory from us, I am certain.
Maybe you have experienced the pain of the Tall Poppy Syndrome.
Maybe you have seen, far too often, the good person corrupted by the limelight.
Maybe you have experienced the sting of online haters and trolls.
Maybe you have committed the Sin of (Out)Shining.
Maybe your strong value of humility fears getting it wrong and having to eat humble pie.
And speaking of pies, maybe you’ve been told you’ve already had too much pie.
If you want to come out from behind the shadows and take the stage with your message, your vocation, your calling, it will be worth every moment of tension.
But if you want to come out from behind the shadows and take the stage with your message, your vocation, your calling, it will be worth every moment of tension.
It will involve you being brave enough to confront the reasons why you stay out of action and the resistance that is keeping you from what you say you want.
It will require you to look at all you have done, without the red pen of editorializing and discounting the efforts you’ve made and the outcomes you’ve created.
It will demand that you not go this alone. It will mean you will gather your people, assemble your cast, bring your fans in close, and trust in them. But, above all, it will demand that you trust in you.