Studies suggest that 70% of people, at some point in their career will suffer from imposter syndrome. Myself included. You may have heard the term thrown around in the media but what actually does imposter syndrome look like?
What is imposter syndrome?
Those who suffer with imposter syndrome are plagued by chronic self doubt and harbour a collection of feelings of inadequacy, despite evident success. It can sound like explaining away your new promotion with “I got lucky” or “I don’t deserve this”
How to silence your imposter syndrome?
1. Know the signs
If any of the above resonates with you or you find it difficult to accept praise, you are paralysed by a fear of failure or you apologise for things when you did nothing wrong, then you may be suffering with imposter syndrome. Acknowledging it is one of the first steps.
2. Separate facts from feelings
When a feeling occurs relating to imposter syndrome, notice it, acknowledge and sit with that feeling and ask yourself ‘Is this fact or a feeling’. The more you do this the more it becomes a habit and you can stop these feelings in their tracks. You then may want to assess where this feeling stems from. Personally I’ve found most of the things my imposter syndrome have told me have stemmed from something someone else has said at some point
3. Confront your imposter syndrome
One amazing technique an old therapist taught me was to write down all the adjectives that I would use to define myself and separate these to positive and negatives (don’t worry if at first the negatives outweigh the positives).
Start with the negatives and write out the following sentence. “I am sometimes *insert negative word* when I ….” and finish the sentence. For instance “I am sometimes selfish, when I don’t ask others about their day”.
The point is to acknowledge that, yes, sometimes I do things that I don’t like about myself and sometimes I am selfish but I am not selfish as a person. A word doesn’t define who I am. Then look at the positives and remind yourself of these daily when your imposter syndrome tries to tell you some of those negative words.
4. Be kind to yourself
Stop trying to be an expert on day one and remind yourself that everyone starts somewhere and even the ‘experts’ make mistakes. Remember, people are more likely to talk about their successes than their failures.
5. Talk about it
Talk to a trusted friend, family member or colleague. You may find that they either have felt or feel the way you do. Acknowledging feelings, make them easier to manage and they don’t seem quite so big once you’ve said them out loud. Alternatively if you feel like you have no one immediately you can talk to, why not try talking to a counsellor. Therapy isn’t just for those with mental conditions, see my post here about some of the amazing things it taught me.. Many people benefit from talking to a therapist for a whole range of reasons.
Mind have excellent resources if you are struggling with your mental health now or in the future.