If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you already have an idea about what Impostor Syndrome is. And you may have an inkling that you are suffering from this very real, and debilitating behaviour.
To be sure, take my Impostor Syndrome test!
Do you worry that you won’t live up to people’s expectations?
Do small mistakes make you feel like a failure?
Do you feel that you don’t belong?
Do you believe that outside factors, or luck, are behind your success?
Do you stop yourself putting yourself ‘out there’ for fear of being found out?
Do you believe that you don’t deserve your job?
Do you push yourself really hard to prove you’re not an impostor, then stress yourself when you’re not accomplishing everything you feel you should?
Do you hesitate in speaking up at work or asking questions because you feel you should know the answer?
Are you afraid to ask for help because that’s proof that you are an impostor?
Let’s face it, most of us will feel like this from time to time – 70% of people according to research. And you’re in good company as Impostor Syndrome does not discriminate – doctors, lawyers, actors, me! The year I got my degree in English and Psychology, I convinced myself it must have been made easier that year, if even I could get a degree.
If you live with this set of beliefs every day, can’t remember ever not feeling like this and have found it’s something that’s holding you back in life - you need to tackle it. Otherwise you’ll never reach your true potential and allow yourself to have all the things you’ve dreamed of …and absolutely deserve.
The good news is, there’s nothing wrong with you! You’re probably a perfectionist. You simply like things to be right (it will be no surprise that this affects more women than men!) Plus, when I described this as debilitating behaviour, it’s just that – a behaviour. And we all know behaviour can change.
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, uh oh, they’re going to find me out now,”
So, we’ve accepted that you have Impostor Syndrome. That’s an amazing start. And now that you know, what are we going to do about shaking it off? If only it was that easy! However, there are a few really simple things you can try right away.
I described Impostor Syndrome as a set of beliefs. So, you need to reframe these thoughts and beliefs. Try this right now:
· List five things from your past which you are proud of
· Write down your career timeline including any qualifications
· Call, text or email three friends, family or colleagues and ask them for positive feedback about your strengths
· Write down seven beliefs that are holding you back from making your next move – I’m not good enough to do that, other people are naturally more clever than me, they’ll think I’m stupid. Now, verbally reply to these beliefs as you would a friend. What would you say to your friend if they told you they were feeling this way?
· Every time you feel those limiting beliefs pop up inside – acknowledge it. Don’t engage it, but don’t push it away either. Just hold it. And if you can, try to put it in perspective. I don’t want to speak to my boss about a different role as they will think I’m not good enough. Will they actually think that? What evidence do you have that your boss thinks that way of you?
You really have made an amazing start already. Really! You’ve found this article and made time to read it which proves that you are accepting of yourself, but you want to change. And hopefully you’ve tried, or will try, at least one of the tasks above in an effort to relieve yourself of the untrue beliefs about yourself.
If this has stirred something inside of you and you’d like to explore your Impostor Syndrome further, start by sending me a quick hello here.