Most of us have had emotions of inadequacy and uncertainty at some point in our lives. Self-doubt and lack of confidence while being qualified to accomplish the job you’ve been given are common, especially in new circumstances with new obstacles. It’s natural to feel this way. However, if you feel inadequate even when you succeed at your particular profession for an extended period within your knowledge, hard work, and effort, you’re suffering from imposter syndrome. Harvard Business Review has a terrific definition:
“Imposter syndrome is a condition in which you distrust your capabilities and feel like a phoney. It primarily affects high-achieving individuals who struggle to embrace their achievements. As a result, many people doubt whether or not they are deserving of praise.”
People who develop the symptoms frequently believe that their achievements are undeserved or that their outstanding marks result from their luck. They’re also concerned that someone will “find out” that they’re not capable enough. Imposter syndrome is quite widespread, with some studies estimating that up to 70% of people may experience it at some point in their lives. As you can acknowledge, impostor syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of job or social status, but high-achieving individuals often experience it.
So, if you suspect you have imposter syndrome or anything similar, know that there are strategies to combat these sentiments in a positive, comprehensive way. Here are three suggestions to get you started.
Don’t create a fake self-image solely to fit in; instead, remain consistent in your actions and trust your strengths. Conforming to how you think other people expect you to be is a frequent reaction to ‘imposter’ emotions. For example, you may believe that being a ‘decent’ student or receiving social or professional approval is necessary. As a result, you must have a specific appearance, dress a certain way, hold a certain attitude, or speak or write in a particular manner. It might be beneficial to rethink your preconceptions about what people expect of you and allow yourself greater freedom to express yourself in a way that feels more authentic to you. It’s easy to feel like you’re ‘faking it’ when you try to give others what you think they want. Instead, you might offer something original based on your own opinions and experiences.
Be Kind Towards Yourself
Impostor syndrome is a negative self-talk tendency in which you tell yourself things like “you’re not smart enough to belong in this hierarchy.” Negative self-talk is a terrible habit that significantly affects our stress and anxiety levels. Being kind to yourself simply means practising good self-talk and altering how you talk to yourself in your thoughts. Try to catch yourself immediately whenever you are going to have negative thinking. It can not only make you feel less stressed and nervous, but it can also help you have the courage to take risks that will pay off.
Accept New Challenges & Don’t Afraid To Make Mistakes
Those who are diagnosed with impostor syndrome tend to turn down work opportunities most often as they don’t believe they’re suitable for the profession. However, taking on new, demanding activities and succeeding at them can open many options for you. In addition, they could be a big help in learning, improving, and growing in your profession. While taking on a role you’re not sure you can perform well at might be intimidating, keep in mind that you were asked to do it for a reason, and there’s no harm in learning new skills and asking questions along the way.
So, if you’re willing to shift your mind about saying yes to new opportunities, you’ll have to be open to making new mistakes as well.
You may be concerned that making a mistake or not knowing anything would demonstrate to others around you that you are an ‘imposter.’ We all make mistakes from time to time, and we can’t know everything. Fear of making a mistake might cause you to remain silent, preventing you from sharing valuable thoughts. Risking the danger of making a mistake is often the only option to offer oneself a voice in a group. You could be startled to learn that others react to your concept in entirely different ways than you anticipated.
It’s pretty challenging to overcome imposter syndrome, especially unless you’ve had it for a long time. The fact that many of the immensely successful people who suffered from this anxiety disorder, including Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and many more, still feel this way despite all they’ve done, shows that it might be a lifetime affliction. That’s why the most unusual approach to dealing with imposter syndrome isn’t to get rid of it totally; instead, it’s to prevent it from impeding your achievement.