Imposter Syndrome is REAL and it's standing between you and your goals.
6 ways to overcome limiting beliefs today.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills,” Imposter Syndrome derails the confidence of many accomplished professionals and is predominant among women and minority groups. An estimated 70% of people experience these feelings of being an “imposter” at some point in their lives, according to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. Imposter Syndrome also goes hand in hand with perfectionism and being a high achiever, so chances are if you're experiencing these feelings, you are already overly critical of your own work.
True story: Every time I was selected for a job, accepted into a program, or praised for my work, I believed I had just gotten lucky.
True story: I used to feel like a fraud when I spoke to peers about what I do, when I described my skills and the services I offered and every time I pitched an ambitious idea.
True story: I used to have nightmares about being “caught”, fired and sent back to school to complete that one algebra class I clearly should not have passed.
True story: At networking events, socializing with people in my industry (at similar places in their career with a similar background to my own) I often felt out-of-place and did not feel like I belonged there.
If you can relate to one or any of these statements, stay with me.
Self-doubt is broad and there’s no clear way through it, but the good thing about dealing with Imposter Syndrome is that we are confronting a very specific type of self-doubt. Once you identify the problem, overcoming it becomes so much simpler!
Be self-aware. Listen to your inner-dialogue and observe rather than engage. Do these thoughts help or hinder you? Do they stem from logic or a place of fear? Reframe your thought process and change your response.
Make a list. Of your accomplishments. Of your qualifications. The big and small stuff! Remember to focus on what you have accomplished and not what you had hoped to accomplish. Perfectionists tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves, and even when they’ve met 99% of their goals, they often allow the 1% to make them feel like a failure. Small mistakes will continuously make them question their own competence. After you review your experiences and how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are, ask yourself if there’s any logic behind your feelings of being a “fraud” and an imposter.
Find ways to internalize your triumphs. Learn to accept compliments and criticism graciously without allowing them to dictate your confidence in your own abilities. Own your role and own your title.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop using colleagues and friends to gauge your own position in your career. Everyone is on a different journey with unique weaknesses, strengths and obstacles that impact their success and everyone had to start somewhere.
Talk to someone you trust. You’re not alone. With 70% of people experiencing similar feelings, you’d be surprised to learn how many of your colleagues can relate and exchanging stories with someone you admire and trust can help to put things into perspective.
Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t allow those failures to define you. In order to master or perfect your craft you will have to try fail, lose, screw up and learn. Period. Nobody masters anything without learning some difficult lessons along the way.
When you need a reminder or someone you can relate to, check out these uplifting Ted Talks on the subject: https://www.ted.com/playlists/503/fighting_impostor_syndrome
Get free and confidential help in minutes from trained peer counselors at Empower Work by Text 510-674-1414 or webchat!
It’s completely normal to experience moments of self-doubt, but the long-term effects of imposter syndrome will leave you with anxiety, depression and burnout at work. If you always credit your accomplishments to charm, chance, connections or external factors, you aren’t giving yourself the credit you deserve! We hope understanding the fallacy behind these feelings will help you to embrace your own capabilities!