Imposter Syndrome is merely negative noise. Here are some tips to conquer it, because you deserve what you have.
Do you ever feel like a fraud, and that all the things that you’ve achieved weren’t due to your talent or abilities, but to other arbitrary factors such as personality, timing, or luck? Are there times when you believe that since you didn’t actually earn your achievements that one day you’ll be exposed as a fake and everything will be taken away from you?
You might be suffering from a disorder called, Imposter Syndrome which according to Cara Maksimow, LCSW is defined as someone who isn’t able to fully internalize accomplishments and who has anxiety based on the internal belief that they don’t deserve the level of accomplishment that they’ve achieved in their career.
The problem is when you constantly doubt yourself, you can chip away at your self-esteem and confidence; you lose the ability to put yourself out there and take the necessary risks you need to take in order to succeed.
“Initially, I struggled with the imposter syndrome when I started my PhD. program,” Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Dew says. “I really felt as if they were going to inform me that a mistake was made, and I was not officially enrolled.”
When you’re experiencing Imposter syndrome, your goal is to never let anyone discover the truth and reveal you for the fraud that you are. NYC based Executive Coach, Shefali Raina says, “Some of the actions that people take is that they avoid taking risks, they focus on perfectionism, they work so hard that there is risk of burnout, they underplay their accomplishments, or are very diplomatic to avoid being found out.”
It’s exhausting to live in a state of anxiety, so instead of ignoring your feelings of inadequacy and waiting out this phase to end, there are things you can do to reprogram your mind and get rid of those thoughts of being some kind of con artist.
Know that you’re not the only one feeling this way. Most high achieving people, leaders, and entrepreneurs experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives—moments when they doubt themselves and question their successes. Try talking to a therapist, colleagues, or friends—you’ll probably discover that many of them feel the same way that you do.
Make a list of everything that you’ve accomplished in work and in life. There’s sure to be a large list and if you look at it objectively, I’m sure that you’ll see that you can’t rationalize everything you’ve done as an accident or lucky break. Keep your list in a safe (and memorable) spot so you can refer to it when you start to feel like a poser.
Stand up to your inner critic. Instead of thinking that you don’t deserve what you have, change it to believing that you did the work, you’ve got skills, the things you’ve accomplished have great value, and that you’re worthy. Every time you think something negative counter-balance it with an affirmation.
Practice self-care. When you internalize all the negativity and stress that comes with feeling like a fraud, you hurt both your body and your mind. So, take the time to show yourself some compassion and treat yourself well—you deserve it.
Stop aiming for perfection. Sometimes when dealing with Imposter Syndrome, we think that if we are without flaws and do everything perfectly we won’t be found out. When you try not to make mistakes, you put extra pressure on yourself and that’s not what you need right now.
Make a decision to own your impressiveness. It doesn’t make you conceited to appreciate what you’ve accomplished and what things you’re capable of in the future.
Pay it forward. When you mentor someone it will help you to recognize that you really do know what you’re doing, and it will help guide someone else to succeed.
You can get over feeling like an imposter overnight, but you can start taking back your power back.
Remember that you’re not a fraud, you’re the real deal. You’ve achieved great things—you did—not somebody else. You’ve earned the right to be proud of your accomplishments, and to be confident that there are more of them destined to come your way in the future.
Have you ever experienced Imposter Syndrome? If so, how did you deal with it?