In our last blog we learned that Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internal fear of being exposed as a “fraud”, despite external evidence of their competence.
Those experiencing this phenomenon struggle to shake the belief that they do not deserve all they have achieved and incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or even worse, believe that their success has come about as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more capable or intelligent than they actually are.
The challenge with imposter syndrome is that most people suffer in silence. This is because their belief is that if they speak up about it, it will materialize/act as proof of their lack of competence and cause others to review their positive perceptions of the individual.
This is why an important strategy in combatting Imposter Syndrome, is to create a space for people to talk about it. Once they understand that it is a common experience, it is normalized and sufferers can begin to support one another to develop strategies for overcoming it.
So, what can you do if you recognize that you might be suffering from Imposter Syndrome? Here are some suggestions:
#1 Get a mentor/coach
The power of Imposter Syndrome is in its silence. The ability to speak out your insecurities and fears in a safe, non-judgmental environment has an immediate and powerful mitigating effect. The very act of reaching out to another in this way, helps to normalize the feelings and breaks you out of isolation and obsessive internal reflection. A skilled coach will also help to raise awareness about your inner dialogue as well as stories you might be holding to about yourself, to help you into a healthier self-perception.
#2 Play to your strengths
Imposter’s tend to obsess about their weaknesses and perceived failures. Recognize where you can improve, but commit to focusing on your strengths to develop them into signature strengths. Besides replenishing your energy, working to your strengths will give you a strong sense of self-confidence and allow you to add real value to whatever you are undertaking.
#3 Mentor someone else
Work with those who know less than you, to pass on your experience and wisdom. This will remind you of how far you have come and help you to verbalize and become conscious of everything you do know.
#4 Celebrate your successes
Learn to celebrate what you did well. Imposters rarely take time out to recognize their achievements and to reward themselves for their investment in their own development.
#5 Create a better ‘personal story’
If you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, you could probably benefit from reframing the way you think about yourself and your life story. By becoming aware of your personal story, you can ask yourself whether this story is really serving you and how you can adjust it in order to make room for more success.
Check out our Imposter Syndrome Awareness Training. A fully online 2-hour programme designed to explore the syndrome and create a safe space for you consider its behaviours and impacts in your personal and professional life.