Have you ever had the overwhelming feeling that you don’t deserve success? Or do you lack confidence and believe you’re not as smart, creative or talented as you should be? If so, you could be suffering from a case of imposter syndrome – a deep-seated sense that you don’t know what you’re doing and that everyone will find out. It’s that nagging voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough which in turn can have serious impacts on your confidence and self-esteem.
What is imposter syndrome?
Often described as a fear of failure or self sabotage, imposter syndrome can often involve feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, feeling like a fraud or that your achievements are simply due to good luck or timing rather than talent.
Usually experienced by high achievers and perfectionists, imposter syndrome often rears its ugly head during moments of success like starting a new job or business, getting a promotion or receiving recognition for your work. It’s a feeling of chronic self-doubt that makes you blind to your own achievements.
Stop and listen to your feelings
One of the first steps in overcoming imposter syndrome is to acknowledge what you’re feeling and why. This could be as simple as keeping a journal and writing down what the voice in your head is telling you, what you’re feeling and why you think you might feel that way.
By jotting down your thoughts, it’s easier to see just how harmful they are and that they aren’t helping your mental wellbeing. Although feelings are important, they are just feelings and usually don’t reflect reality – feeling like a fraud doesn’t mean that you actually are. Talking to a professional can also help manage negative self talk and provide you with the tools to change those thoughts and feelings.
Reflect on your thoughts
To stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like an imposter. Change your thought patterns by acknowledging negative thoughts when they appear and reminding yourself they are only thoughts and that thoughts can be changed.
Keep track of any positive feedback and praise you receive so that next time you hear the negative voice in your head, you can look back at these positive experiences and realise you deserve to be successful. It also helps to remember that you’re just as smart and deserving as the next person.
Reframe the situation
Rather than telling yourself that you’re a fraud who doesn’t deserve success, remind yourself that you’re not alone and that no-one has all the answers. Embrace your mistakes and reframe failure as a wonderful learning opportunity that will help you grow as a person. We’re all going to experience failure at some point in our lives, so it’s better to look for the lessons in these instances and use them as part of the learning process.
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