You work hard and dream big, you finally come to success, but instead of satisfaction and pride, there is self-doubt and the feeling that you did not deserve that success?
You are not the only one because, believe it or not, the imposter syndrome occurs in as many as 70% of highly educated women, as well as men, in management positions.
It sabotages your successes by diminishing your value, merit and lead to comparison with other people. It is also called the "cheat syndrome" because it convinces you that you have "cheated" everything around to achieve success, and you are just waiting for the moment when you will be exposed – and everything you have earned will be taken away.
You may be suffering from the imposter syndrome if you recognize yourself in any of the following sentences:
"I feel like a fraud while other people congratulate me on my success."
"I get undeserved praise because they attribute to me and my abilities something that is just a combination of happy circumstances."
"I can't look forward to success, because I'm constantly afraid that I'll be exposed."
"I didn't deserve to be in the company of successful people who have achieved so much."
"I still have a lot of work and study to do, so that I don't feel guilty about getting undeserved compliments anymore."
"What I have achieved, many other people are already achieving."
… know that you are not alone in this.
If you feel that way now, don't worry, help is on the way.
These are 5 tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome and stop sabotaging your successes.
Do You Have The Imposter Syndrome?
Do you consider your achievements a combination of happy circumstances, confusion, or deception? For example, you've got a great new job, but you feel like a cheater, and you don't belong in a new environment because everyone around you seems more capable or smarter. You are constantly waiting for the moment when they will tell you that there has been confusion and that you have strayed there.
Or you've got a promotion, but you're afraid you're not up to it because there's so much you still have to learn. Instead of pride, do you feel fear and panic because you don't know how to cope with the challenges that a new position brings? There is a big difference between the rational fear that occurs when we face an unfamiliar situation and the irrational fear that diminishes our value, underestimates our merits, and destroys our self-confidence.
Here is how to recognize if you have imposter syndrome.
Types Of Imposter Syndrome
The term "imposter syndrome" was first mentioned in 1978 by Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in their work "The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: dynamics and therapeutic intervention." However, at the time, it was believed to occur only in highly educated women.
Valerie Young, in her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, defines the patterns of behavior in imposter syndrome and distinguishes several types:
Perfectionists - do you set high expectations, and even the slightest mistake leads to self-doubt? Learn that mistakes are an integral part of life. Change your view of them because it is your mistakes from which you learn that lead you to the goal and make you a more perfect version of yourself.
Control Freaks - Before starting a business, you usually need to research all the information and know everything about a particular topic. Usually, because of that, you need far more time to do some work or not start it at all because you don't feel ready? Instead of extensive research, start working even if you are not fully prepared and learn on the go.
Natural talents - you are used to doing everything by hand, and then when you need to use more effort to acquire a new skill, there is a feeling of cheating. Don't be afraid to be a beginner because proper growth requires more effort and time. So, imagine how much pleasure you will feel later if you allow yourself to start from the bottom.
Solo superheroes - are you embarrassed to ask others for help because you think you have to achieve everything yourself or that other people will discover that you may not know everything? You would be surprised that most people actually like to help others and will find time to help. You just need to ask.
Superwoman or superman - do you work harder than everyone else and strive to be successful in all areas of life? It's nice to work on making all aspects of your life the way you want them to be, but you need to be aware that life is a winding line consisting of setbacks and successes, which serve to build us through.
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is just a creation of your mind, a reflection of your thoughts and inner state.
The good news is that you control your inner world and that you can influence everything in it. The next time you feel an imposter syndrome approaching, rationalize the thoughts that come to you by:
Make a list of your skills that have led you to a particular achievement to make you aware that the current event is not just luck but your merit.
Stop comparing yourself to others, but compare yourself only to yourself to be a better version of yourself with each passing day. Look at other people's success as a positive example that what you want is possible to achieve and try to learn from that person's experience how it came about.
Write down how you feel because when you write down your thoughts on paper, it is easier for you to become aware of them and assess their truthfulness.
When you feel you have no control over your thoughts, focus on breathing, as this helps you go back to the present moment where self-critical thoughts do not exist.
Communicate and share your doubts with loved ones. Often when we say some experiences out loud, we realize how meaningless they are and not based on reality.
If you feel the "imposter syndrome," don't feel guilty. Think about the cause and why you feel that way. Realize that you are not the only one. You are worthy of the success you have achieved, and your knowledge and skills have led you to it. A set of your authentic skills, knowledge, and experience is what makes you competent and worth everything you have accomplished.
The world does not need us to be perfect but just the way we are, and if other people have already believed in us and given us such fantastic opportunities, what is it in us that tells us that we are not worthy of that trust and success? It's just an old record to be replaced by the most beautiful music of your heart.
Dare to enjoy your success because you darn well deserve it.