Do you suffer from a suspicion you might be a big fraud that everyone’s going to find out? It’s natural to feel inadequate at times. If these feelings are constantly plaguing you. You could be suffering from a much more serious issue known as imposter syndrome.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Impostor syndrome is defined: as “anxiety or self-doubt that results from persistently undervaluing one’s competence and active role in achieving success, while falsely attributing one’s accomplishments to luck or other external forces.”
Imposter syndrome is the internal belief that you’re not as competent as others think you are. It manifests itself when people give you praise or positive feedback. You might feel undeserving, even though all the evidence suggests you are highly skilled. At its worst, you may feel like a fraud.
The concept was first coined in the 1970s by psychologists to describe an experience often felt by athletes and business executives. They discovered that even the most recognized individuals often failed to understand their worth, which could cause performance problems.
Imposter syndrome can cause a great deal of damage to your work, career, and personal life, so it’s crucial to recognize the signs early and take action to break free from it.
Signs of Imposter Syndrome
Here are six of the most common signs of imposter syndrome:
- You Minimize Your Achievements
People with imposter syndrome believe that their achievements are not a big deal. When someone compliments you, you resist it because you don’t think you deserve it. Instead, you point out the contributions of others to minimize your own.
- You See Your Success as Luck
People with imposter syndrome attribute their accomplishments to luck. They overstate the role chance plays in their lives, overlooking the skill and hard work that made it all happen.
- You Impossible High Standards of Success
You may set an impossibly high standard of success for yourself and then feel that you don’t deserve to achieve it. Do you feel fear or anxiety when you think about the goals you want to reach? This is a symptom of perfectionism which is often at the core of imposter syndrome.
- You Fear Not Measuring up
People with imposter syndrome often secretly fear they don’t measure up to others’ expectations. These could be at work, with your family members, or even with friends and business partners. No matter how often they confirm that you’re doing a great job, you feel it’s never enough. You need constant affirmation.
- You’re on the ‘Imposter Hampster Wheel’
The imposter cycle is a pattern that starts with anxiety leading to intense over-preparation and planning. Driven by the fear of not doing a looming task well, you go through a frantic process of preparing. It may be accompanied by procrastination and excuse-making. When the project is accomplished, you feel a momentary sense of satisfaction until you think of the next undertaking.
- You Don’t Ask For What You’re Worth
When you don’t understand your true worth, you don’t ask for what you deserve. This includes the pay you should be receiving. The feeling of inadequacy will stop you from asking for a raise, under price your services, or making any other kind of big ask. You suffer in silence.
10 Tips to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
- Recognize the Signs. Now that you know the common signs of imposter syndrome, you can take action to overcome this. Pay attention to your thoughts, words, and actions and the feelings that arise. Where are they coming from and why? Get curious.
- Fight Imposter Syndrome with Facts. The negative feelings you feel are not based on reality. Looking at the facts can help. Gather evidence that shows how much progress you’ve made and how much you’ve achieved. Post it on your office wall and see it when you need a reminder.
- Share Your Feelings with a Trusted Friend. You’re not alone in feeling the way you do. Did you know that world-renowned high-achievers have expressed these same feelings? Reach out to others and share your feelings. It will help you put things in perspective.
- Learn To Not Compare Yourself. Imposter feelings often arise from erroneously comparing ourselves to others. Remember that all of us are different and we all have our paths. Avoid comparing yourself to others. I know it’s hard, but you can do this.
- Celebrate Your Successes. If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you focus on your failures and shortcomings rather than your successes. Remind yourself of the awesome things you’ve achieved.
- List Your Strengths. Create a list of your skills, qualifications, experience, and natural strengths. Use this list to boost your confidence whenever you need it.
7. Switch Negative to Positive. We often have negative self-talk driving
our feelings of insecurity. Recognize the negative talk and replace it
with something positive.
8. Reframe Failure. What does “failure” mean to you? Reframe it so
that it’s not something negative, but a valuable learning experience.
9. Visualize Success. Get a vision of success. How would it look?
It will help you with setting an impossible standard.
10. Let Go of Perfectionism. Focus on your progress and growth. Quit
trying to be perfect. Adjust your standards and learn to do “good
enough” while striving to improve.
Impostor syndrome can be passed down to a person from their family. It may not show up until later in their life. Another potential cause may be from entering a new career field where you internally compare your skills to those who have been at the job longer than yourself. There could also be several external factors that could cause a person to be haunted by impostor syndrome.
No matter the cause you can overcome this condition once you become aware of how it is affecting you. If you have been plagued by the symptoms of these internal imposter feelings for a long time, you may have entered a vicious cycle that requires the help of a professional to overcome it.
Whatever the case is you can overcome this with the right tools.
Be well + prosper,