We’re starting to hear the phrase ‘Imposter Syndrome’ more and more in today’s society despite being a term that was first used by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in the 1970s.
Imposter syndrome is defined as a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where both men and women doubt their accomplishments and have a recurring, internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. It’s a form of anxiety which can cause stress due to fear of failure and makes us feel we don’t belong in certain life roles. Mixed emotions of self-doubt fuel feelings of inadequacy like “I don’t deserve this job”.
But why do many of us feel an ‘imposter’ in our everyday work despite having adequate evidence of our accomplishments, many of us remain convinced that we don’t deserve success and think that success is for other people, not us.
Recognising Impostor Syndrome
- Feelings of inadequacy and frequent self-doubt.
- Thoughts of “I’m not worthy,” or “I don’t deserve this.”
- Worrying that you can’t live up to others’ expectations.
- Focusing on your mistakes rather than on your achievements.
- Exhibiting tendencies.
- Thinking that your job is so easy that anyone could do it.
- Thinking that your talents and strengths are common or unremarkable.
- Believing that what you do is never enough.
- Believing that if you were to start over, you wouldn’t have the luck, talent or skills to replicate your current success.
How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
Impostor Syndrome is a self-fulfilling pattern of thought, where we doubt our own intelligence and talents, and thinks that anyone who believes otherwise is either “being nice” or has somehow been fooled into believing this.
To us to overcome Impostor Syndrome, try breaking the pattern of setting yourself unrealistic standards and thinking that external, temporary factors such as luck, help or hard work are responsible for your success.
- Stop blaming your own personal shortcomings for mistakes or failures.
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
- Celebrate your successes and focus on the positive.
- Talk to others about how you feel.
- Overcome your perfectionist tendencies by setting realistic goals for yourself, and accept that mistakes and failures are a part of life.
- Take ownership of your successes.
- Learn how to take a compliment and draw strength from it.
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