Imposter Syndrome

I feel like a Fraud.

I am not good enough to do this job.

They will find out.

I don’t deserve to be in such a good job.

Imposter Syndrome is a Psychological expression for a suppressed feeling that someone is undeserving of the position they are in and that they will eventually be exposed.  Imposter Syndrome is the persistent feeling that you’re a fraud and a fake and that someone is going to figure out that you don’t know half as much as you pretend to. This pattern of behaviour affects their performance and there is no let up over time; often getting to a stage of extreme anxiety.

Imposter Syndrome can impact not just your professional life, but spills over into your personal affairs too, as confidence is impacted in a big way throughout your personality. Imposter Syndrome is indiscriminate to gender, race, or nationality. Anyone can be affected.

What can you do to help yourself? Well, that is a big question in psychological circles and the good news is, that you can overcome these negative thoughts. It takes time and dedication though – there is no easy and quick fix. The fact that you are aware of it and by recognising these Imposter feelings, is  vitally important for recovery. Some suggestions on ways that you can reduce the impact of living with Imposters syndrome:

TALKING AND FEEDBACK

Talk with a trusted friend or family member. Someone who will maintain confidentiality throughout.

Take baby steps. Allow yourself some space to address the issues you feel. To start you off, an idea is to separate facts from feelings? What is it that really feels difficult to deal with? Get writing each feeling or negative thought.

It will help if you create a document and draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side, list all of your fears and anxieties around how you feel. There is no need to prioritise your list; just have them written down. Add to the list when you want.

Let us say that you have written down that you feel inadequate when speaking to people in person. Take this feeling and put it to the test. Going back to the 1st suggestion of talking to a trusted friend, ask their opinion – Do I come across as a good speaker? Do you detect any flaws with my speaking? Perhaps ask your partner or a social friend.

Get some feedback from a few sources and write down the answers opposite your anxieties and feelings in your document.

Find ways to compare and contrast the areas that you feel like you are an Imposter in, to real life events with someone you know, ideally independent of the areas where anxieties occur.

With feedback opposite your original thoughts of incompetence, you should encounter changes to how you perceive your life, as you realise that you are not incompetent at all, and you are viewed very differently by others who accept you,  as you are.

ASKING FOR HELP

{In the workplace now} If you are in a role of Management and think you are an Imposter, then there are positive ways to address your perceived weaknesses. If you’ve been operating under misguided rules like: ‘I should always know the answer’ or ‘Never ask for help’, please re-think this. A good leader will acknowledge when they do not have the answer, and that is okay.

You cannot be brilliant at everything and asking for someone in the team to help contribute, is a fine skill in delegating. Seriously, if you find that you do not have a skill that many think you have, then ask someone who has, for tips, on how to improve. People like to be asked to show off their particular skills – if given recognition for their efforts!

Showing vulnerability is not a bad thing. You may be amazed at how well this is received – it is called being ‘human’.

DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF

This one is definitely easier said than done, but at the end of the day, the only person you should be comparing yourself to, is yourself. We don’t all live equal lives. Some people are born into money; some went to good schools; had individual tutors; connections in the business world; did not have a hidden disability to contend with etc.

You are unique, and your talents and skills have come about in a way that only you could have done. The following picture might show this better.

If you are not able to put these strategies to good use and continue to struggle with Imposter Syndrome, please get in touch with me to explore other ways for you to manage this unnerving situation you find yourself in.

Contact me, Steve by via the Contact Page

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