Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Do you sometimes feel like no matter how successful you are, you truly don’t deserve your accomplishments?

Or have you recently been promoted, and suddenly you feel like a fraud and worry people are going to find out?

If your answer is ‘yes’, then you’re one of many people who suffer from Imposter Syndrome.

As someone who comes across as very confident, my friends and colleagues are shocked when I talk about how often I get Impostor Syndrome. I’ve had it in every job – even jobs where I got recognised for exceeding my targets consistently and awarded for being a top salesperson. For every congratulatory message I received, I remember thinking I didn’t do anything that fantastic’.

Impostor Syndrome: the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.

According to the Behavioural Journal, 7 out of 10 people will experience Imposter Syndrome in their lifetime. Some people might equate it to a lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem; however, high achieving and highly successful people are most likely to suffer from Impostor Syndrome. Research has also shown that more women than men experience this syndrome.

So, how can you deal with Impostor Syndrome?

1. Acknowledge your thoughts.
When you start to get the impostor feeling, remember you are not alone. Talk about your feelings and try to track your triggers. I find that when I focus too much on what I could have done better instead of celebrating my wins, I fall into a cycle of wondering if I was ever good enough. I have since learnt to celebrate even the smallest successes.

2. Reframe your thoughts.
Instead of asking yourself if you deserved that promotion, remember that you worked hard to get to where you are and accept that you have played a role in your success. Change your thinking from Everyone will find out I’m a fraud’ to ‘I may not always know all the answers, but I’m smart enough to find out’When possible, take time out to meditate. Meditation can help control any anxiety you’re feeling. When I get overwhelmed at work, I log off and sit in my car a few minutes to gather my thoughts.

3. Remember, everyone has an ‘off’ day.
Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. Instead of beating yourself up when you make mistakes, use it as a learning opportunity and swiftly move on.

4. Set achievable goals.
By doing this, you’re setting yourself up to succeed irrespective of how you’re feeling.  Create a step-by-step plan outlining how you intend to achieve each micro goal. This will help eliminate any fears you may be feeling.

5. Reward yourself.
Learn to accept compliments and own your success! When I start to feel undeserving, I read through positive feedback I’ve received, and it serves as a subtle reminder that I am exactly where I deserve to be.

If you’ve ever suffered from Impostor syndrome, how did you deal with it? We’d love to hear your story.