Do you ever feel like a fraud or a fake in your graduate program or workplace? Have you ever worried that other people might find out you are not who they think you are? When you get more responsibility or a new project, do you get the feeling you are in the wrong job? Well, you are not alone, this feeling is called Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor syndrome is the fear of not being good enough and the fear of being exposed as not being as experienced or smart as people think you are. It is a feeling of insecurity that resides deep down inside of you that reminds you constantly that you don’t deserve the job title you have or the compliments you receive, even though your performance is high.
All of us get that feeling, it is very common with high achievers and women who attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to merit and ability instead of accepting their successes. For example, you attend a meeting or someone says something to you and you don’t get it so you feel stupid, you believe to be in the wrong place and unworthy of your job. Then you conclude it’s only a matter of time until someone realise that you are not good enough to fulfilling your job description and fires you.
Impostor Syndrome drives some people to achieve more and work harder but it can also lead to low self-esteem, burnout and chronic self-doubt. Therefore, it is important to start implementing tips to overcome your feeling of inferiority and to start feeling worthy of success.
Here are 9 tips that you can use to overcome the Impostor Syndrome:
- Since comparisons are rarely helpful and often biased, to stop comparing yourself to others is a good way to start overcoming the Impostor Syndrome. The idea of everyone else doing better than you is just a false assumption. When you compare others external appearance of confidence to your internal insecurities, you are mistaken and make an inaccurate conclusion because you only have access to your own self-doubt. Therefore, as you are only aware of your own struggle, you falsely assume that others’ lives are easier than yours while in reality, everyone is going through their own life challenges and soul growth experiences.
- It’s unrealistic to aim for perfection. To be worthy of the success you have achieved, you don’t have to attain perfection. You will always feel disappointed if you keep setting the bar at a level of perfection so to not always fall short, set the bar at a realistic level instead.
- Instead of trying to be perfect at everything, focus on the unique skills and strengths you have to offer. No one is great at everything, that’s why in order to grow, people work in groups where everyone has their own experience and knowledge to bring to the table for the benefit of all.
- Most people find it easier to focus on their mistakes and failures rather than owning their successes and accomplishments. To have a balance, write down a list of all the things that you have succeeded at and achieved since you started your current job because these too deserve your focus.
- Break the silence about your insecurities. Shame keeps a lot of us from dropping the mask that covers our fraudulent feelings and insecurities. When you confide to people you get along with and respect, you’ll find that it is freeing for yourself and that instead of displaying false confidence, they too will in return feel comfortable to share their own struggles with you.
- Separate feelings from fact when you make a mistake. Everyone feels stupid at times but feeling stupid doesn’t mean you are. You may not know all the answers but you are smart enough to find them. You are only human, don’t beat yourself up for messing up a project, it’s much more effective to develop a new response to failure by learning from it and moving on. Success happens much quicker once we accept our failures.
- Take a risk and visualize it succeed. Spend time picturing yourself before asking a question in a meeting or prior to making an important presentation at work. It’s better than impacting your coming performance by stressing and expecting a disaster to happen. Taking on challenges that scare you require great courage so don’t forget to congratulate and reward yourself after you took a risk, no matter what the outcome was, this will break the cycle of seeking validation from outside of yourself.
- Now and then we all have to improvise and rely on our instinct, so why not fake it ‘til you make it? You don’t have to wait until you are confident to start acting like it, the more risk you take, the more courage you will get, resulting in a change of behaviour and a new you, that knows how to allow confidence to grow.
- Lastly, a therapist or alternative healing methods can help you with the tools needed to break out of the impostor mindset.