Imposter syndrome is real. It affects men and women across all walks of life and it can have a negative impact on you and your career.
Have you ever felt like a fraud? As though you’ve only reached your position by chance and you really shouldn’t be there? You wait for someone to realise it and call you out… If so, you’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome.
Studies show an estimated 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some stage of their lives. It affects men and women across all areas of life, and it can have quite a negative impact on you and your career.
What are the signs of Imposter Syndrome?
Do any of these signs sound familiar?
- You are a perfectionist.
- You are a high achiever.
- You prefer to do things yourself, so you can hide the struggle.
- You feel nothing you do is ever good enough.
- You work longer and harder than you need to – and longer and harder than anyone else.
- You overprepare for everything.
- You need to be Superman/Superwoman.
- You don’t believe any praise you’re given.
- No matter how good your work is, you still think someone will notice it’s not good enough.
What does it feel like?
When you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, life is a struggle. It’s uncomfortable, tiring and challenging and you feel like you’re walking on needles the whole time. You try to avoid stepping up to new challenges or stretching yourself in new areas. You don’t want to be noticed in case someone sees your ‘incompetence’.
You’re sabotaging yourself by listening to your limiting beliefs, and you probably know that, but it’s a tough cycle to break.
How to overcome Imposter Syndrome
Valerie Young, expert on Imposter Syndrome, says “The only way to stop feeling like an impostor, is to stop thinking like an impostor.”
There lies the challenge. It takes work to change the way you think, but here are 3 things you can do which will help.
1. Remind yourself it’s impossible to be perfect
Everyone has good days and bad days, and no-one can be perfect, despite what your Imposter Syndrome (and that voice in your head) tells you. Coming to grips with this realisation is the hardest part of overcoming the syndrome because it targets perfectionists. Try to stop beating yourself up and remember that your 80% good enough is far better than anyone else’s 100%.
2. Take a close look at your strengths
Imposter Syndrome tends to focus your thoughts on your perceived ‘weaknesses’ and blow them out of proportion. You forget about your successes and your skills. On a regular basis, think about these positives and write them down. The act of writing them helps embed them in your mind, gradually making them easier to call on when you need to overcome the critical voice in your head.
3. Remember emotions aren’t facts
Just because you feel like a fraud it doesn’t mean you are. One of the things that most ties us up in knots is accepting our feelings as fact.
Did you know Seth Godin said that after a dozen best sellers he still feels like a fraud all the time? We know he’s no fraud, and he deserves his success. So, there’s a fact and there’s an emotion. The two are giving different opinions, and that’s what happens inside you. Try to start separating emotion from fact to see what’s really driving your choices.
You need to remember people need you, just as you are, or they wouldn’t have put you where you are now. Just go with it and start trusting yourself a little more.
It’s normal to feel like an imposter sometimes, but as Valerie Young, who says, “[You] can still have an impostor moment, but not an impostor life.”
Talking to someone about your Imposter Syndrome can help you deal with it, so give our team at Empowering Ambitious Women a call if you want to start beating it.