If you’ve ever stopped into a new job, a new school, a certain lesson or social event and experienced anything like self-doubt, sabotaging your own success or attributing your success to external factors, it may have been Imposter Syndrome which you were experiencing.
Imposter syndrome is believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be or as your qualifications reflect you to be. It is a ‘psychological phenomenon’ and quite simply, it can be harmful. Studies suggest that 70% of people experience the syndrome at some point in their career.
For some people, it is true that the syndrome can fuel a feeling of motivation to achieve. It may propel them to work harder and achieve more but usually, it will come at a cost. Often, people experiencing Imposter Syndrome will over-prepare or overwork. They’ll tire themselves out while experiencing unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress.
The description above is a mere summary of the syndrome. There are various forms which the phenomenon can take. It will depend on a person’s background and personality. For example, if you are a person who comes from a family that highly values achievement, you may be more inclined to experiencing I.S. Alongside this, the article began by making you think about yourself starting a new position. That is because, we know entering a new role can trigger the syndrome. It can make you feel like you don’t belong or are not capable.
So, how do you cope? How do you overcome the negative self-talk?
First, ask yourself a few hard questions.
What core beliefs do you hold about yourself and do you have to be perfect for others to approve of you? Do you only approve of those that are perfect? Do you believe you are as worthy of love as you are?
With these questions in mind, come a few tips.
Firstly, share your feelings. Talk to others about how you feel; voice your irrational beliefs before they fester.
Take baby steps, questions your thoughts and assess your abilities. Focus on progress not perfection - don’t worry about perfection. So long as you are doing reasonably well and dedicating yourself, you can afford to reward and celebrate your efforts. As you take action and have thoughts, make sure to question the rationality of the thoughts.
Everyone starts off a beginner.
If you have long-held beliefs about your competence, make realistic assessments of your beliefs. If you’re a student reading this, assess your study set-up and willingness to dedicate yourself to your studies.
For many things in life, you don’t necessarily have to be a genius. You just need to be consistent with your hard work and efforts.
Stop comparing, use social media moderately and most importantly, don’t let anything hold you back. Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you from pursuing your goals. Keep going, you’re doing great!