What is imposter syndrome? Well, to cut a long story short, have you ever felt like a fraud in your career?
Do you often feel as if your success is down to simply sheer luck? That’s pretty much imposter syndrome in a nutshell.
It’s that niggling feeling, that you’re just not good enough and sooner or later you’ll be found out.
First recognised in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, Imposter syndrome can be crippling and has the ability to erode one’s confidence, subsequently affecting your performance.
The good news? Imposter syndrome can be managed. By implementing a few positive habits, you can kick it’s butt, and ensure you’re controlling it as opposed to it dominating you.
1. Fake it ‘till you become it: I love this sentiment coined by Amy Cuddy. If you haven’t already, I seriously recommend watching her Ted Talk on how to combat lack of confidence using body language. When imposter syndrome attempts to rob you of your self-esteem, fight back! Stand up straight with your head high and walk with an air of self-assurance. The mere act of altering your body language will positively affect your mental state.
2. Utilize cognitive behavioural therapy: Also known as CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, successfully teaches its student to become aware of negative thoughts and question/challenge their validity. So, when your mind tells you that you’re not capable or deserving of your success, CBT equips you with the right mental tools to challenge these false narratives. For example, when an onslaught of thoughts takeover and start to scream “you’re not worthy of your success!” CBT reminds you to review your accomplishments as well as appreciate that your negative thoughts aren’t accurate.
3. Talk, talk, talk: It’s always good to offload. I know I always feel 100 times better when I share my feelings and thoughts with someone I trust. Moreover, talking allows you to really analyse your thoughts, and often once you’ve put your feelings out there, they no longer seem as terrifying or isolating.
4. Celebrate your accomplishments: There’s no shame in being proud and giving yourself a big fat pat on the back. Schedule a date every couple of months when you unashamedly treat yourself for all your hard work. Alternatively, call a couple of friends and go out for a meal and drinks. Whatever you decide to do, do it without any feelings of guilt!
5. Go easy on yourself: And while it’s so easy to be hard on yourself and constantly strive for better, all while believing you’re not deserving, it must be said that this is not a healthy way to live. Remember that you’re not alone. It’s estimated that imposter syndrome affects approximately 70% of the population, from well known celebrities to those just starting out in their chosen profession. Speak positivity into your life daily, focus on your strengths and remind yourself that you are worthy.