Imposter Syndrome: What is it and what can I do to overcome it?
14th Jun 23
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome is defined as “the inability to believe that your own achievements are a result of your own skills, talent, intellect and hard work”.
It generally comes with the assumption that your personal successes are down to luck and chance rather than having earned these yourself. This leads to feeling like an imposter and fearing others discovering that you “aren’t worthy” of what you have.
The real kicker with this? Imposter syndrome is felt by those who are not only good at what they do, but are very well qualified with a great deal of moral responsibility.
This can be a challenging feeling to overcome and can often stem from a lack of self-confidence. It can be so consuming and make you question every decision and action you make.
Why do we feel this?
Though there isn’t a hard and fast rule or formula for why people experience Imposter Syndrome, there are some contributing factors which are known to have an impact which include:
- Upbringing: if there was pressure at a young age to achieve then this could be where you hold your personal value. This could lead to subconsciously putting high levels of pressure on yourself to achieve more and more.
- Lack of self-confidence: if you don’t have confidence in yourself then it will make it more challenging to back yourself in your own achievements.
- Social anxiety: this sense of not belonging in social settings or that you shouldn’t be there can often go hand-in hand with imposter syndrome. It can lead to feeling that you don’t belong in certain circles and fearing that others will realise that you don’t fit in.
Why it’s important to overcome imposter syndrome?
First and foremost, for your own happiness. It can feel emotionally taxing to have this worry hanging over you, which then has the possibility of seeping in to other areas of our lives. It can also hold us back from really exciting opportunities; if we feel like we aren’t good enough then we won’t feel comfortable trying something new or putting ourselves forward for something which could be really good for us. This in turn reinforces our negative beliefs of not feeling good enough because we haven’t achieved and becomes an ongoing cycle.
Tips to help you manage your Imposter Syndrome
Tackling this feeling takes time and investment in yourself. And there will be days where it feels more challenging than others. But it is absolutely worth it when you start to see the benefits. Some tips which can help include:
1. Avoid reaching for your phone and scrolling through social media on a tough day. Social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s now easier than ever to scroll endlessly through photos and compare yourself to others. “Why don’t I look like them.” “I wish I could afford what they can.”
2. Take the pressure off being perfect; whilst it is a good trait to want to do things to the absolute best of your ability, this can lead to a feeling of disappointment or punishing yourself if everything doesn’t go entirely perfectly. Ask yourself “what are the repercussions of this not going 100% to plan” and often you’ll find that the reality isn’t as scary as you might think.
3. Allow yourself to be proud of your strengths and abilities. We are so quick to point out our flaws and what we’ve done “wrong” that we rarely praise ourselves and what we have accomplished. A technique I’ve found that helps with this is to have a notebook/page on my phone dedicated to “3 good things”; writing down a list of the good things that have happened that day/things I’m proud of etc.
4. Find a secure support network that you can confide in. It doesn’t need to be a huge circle of people; it can be just one person who you turn to when this feeling creeps back in. Having someone close to you who can encourage and support you in being kinder in how you speak to yourself can help this positive self-talk to come more naturally over time.
5. Break the association that pride is equal to arrogance; the two don’t go hand in hand. You can celebrate yourself and your achievements without worry of it appearing that you are bragging. Remind yourself that we encourage children to be proud of their successes and to celebrate these and therefore we as adults show be able to do the same.Affirm to yourself “I’ve worked hard for this”, “I deserve to feel proud of this”.
Imposter syndrome can turn up at any time and learning to deal with and/or overcome it takes you one step closer to finding the power in yourself.
If any of the themes throughout this blog resonate with you, or if you’d like to discuss them further. I offer 1:1 coaching sessions designed to help you regain your inner power and confidence. You can email email@example.com or book through my website contact page accessible via my bio below.