“To succeed you have to believe in something with such passion that it becomes a reality.” — Anita Roddick
WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME
To start, let’s be sure we’re on the same page of the dictionary on what we’re talking about.
Imposter Syndrome, also known as Impostorism, is a psychological phenomenon characterized by persistent feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and the fear of being exposed as a fraud or faker, despite evidence of one’s competence and accomplishments. It can affect people in many areas of life, including work, school, and relationships.
People experiencing Imposter Syndrome often believe that their success is due to luck, timing, or external factors, rather than their own skills or efforts. For me, I often feel anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and a lack of self-confidence when I’m dealing with it.
To be honest, I really don’t remember since my high school years not being visited by Impostor Syndrome. Whenever I stood in front of group, walked to the edge of my comfort zone or stood in that spotlight, it was there. It seemed like everyone around me had their act together, and I was “faking it.” Any moment I will be caught.
I do realize now so many of us have these moments. Even more comforting is the realization that so many successful people experience it too from Maya Angelou to Tom Hanks!
FIGHTING THE DOUBTS
Here are several strategies I employ to help combat Imposter Syndrome when he visits:
- Recognize it: The first step is acknowledging that you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Remember that it’s a common phenomenon and that many successful individuals have dealt with it.
- Reframe your thoughts: Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and skills when you start doubting your abilities. Putting my thoughts and fears on paper made them feel more manageable, less overwhelming.
- Seek support and mentorship: Remember that you don’t have to go through this journey alone. It can be incredibly comforting to talk to friends or family about your Imposter Syndrome. Find a mentor or role model who can provide guidance and reassurance. They can share their own experiences with self-doubt and help you gain perspective. Sharing your thoughts and concerns can be very therapeutic.
- Track successes: Keep a record of your accomplishments, both big and small. Reviewing your achievements can boost your self-esteem. Every time I achieve something, whether big or small, I try to note it down in my “Ta-Da” journal.
- Accept compliments: Instead of downplaying compliments or attributing your success to luck, graciously accept them. Recognize that you deserve recognition for your hard work. Keeping a journal can help you track these moments and review in lower moments.
- Practice self-compassion: We’re often our own harshest critics. Treat yourself with kindness and empathy. It’s important to note that overcoming Imposter Syndrome is an ongoing process. Be patient with yourself and continue to work on building your confidence and self-esteem over time.
HELPING A FRIEND HAVING DOUBTS
Supporting a friend who is struggling with Imposter Syndrome and self-confidence issues can make a big difference in their well-being. Here are some ways we can offer our support to others:
- Listen attentively: Be a compassionate and nonjudgmental listener. Encourage your friend to open up about their feelings and experiences. Sometimes, just talking about their struggles can provide relief.
- Provide positive feedback: Offer genuine praise and acknowledgment for their accomplishments. Remind them of their strengths and the value they bring to various aspects of their life.
- Share your own experiences: If you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome or self-confidence issues, sharing your stories and how you’ve overcome them can be comforting and reassuring to your friend. It helps them see they’re not alone.
- Offer encouragement: Be a source of encouragement and motivation. Let your friend know that you believe in their abilities and support their efforts to overcome self-doubt.
Encourage them to seek professional help if needed, as therapists and counselors are trained to provide specific guidance and strategies for overcoming Imposter Syndrome and self-confidence issues.
CONCLUSION: BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN SUCCESS
In fighting Imposter Syndrome, self-awareness, affirmation, and self-compassion have been my greatest allies. Remember your achievements are real, and you deserve every bit of success that comes your way.
One thing I like to remember… it’s often those who care deeply about their work and are committed to self-improvement who experience Imposter Syndrome most intensely. It’s a sign that you’re constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and striving for excellence.
We’ve got this!
MANTRA: I embrace the power within.