When you think about your greatest achievements do you feel accomplished or a fraud? Do you feel you just got lucky and were in the right time or place? Do you attribute your success to others or external factors? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may well have imposter syndrome and not even know it!
In this blog we’re going to explore what imposter syndrome is, how to recognise it and most importantly I’ll provide you with some top tips on how to ditch your imposter syndrome so you can own your success.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is that overwhelming feeling that you don’t deserve success. You convince yourself you’re not creative, intelligent or talented and that any success you’ve had is just down to luck or being in the right place at the right time. That one day you’re going to get caught out and be exposed as a fraud.
It can be linked to other feelings of self-doubt, such as fear of success, fear of failure of fear of rejection.
When I got my first paid coaching clients, I noticed my imposter syndrome creeping in. The internal critic in my head (I’ve named him Stan) would tell me that I’m not a good enough coach. That I don’t know my stuff, even though I got positive feedback from my clients and I could see the results I was creating for my clients.
Imposter syndrome often appears when you get a promotion, start a new job, get an award, take on paid clients, etc. Basically, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and has you questioning your credibility and ability.
The more you buy into your imposter syndrome the more your self-doubt increases. This then affects your ambition and your ability to achieve your goals. If you’ve got an inner critic telling you that you can’t do it, that you just got lucky, that you’re a fraud then you’re less likely to take the action needed to achieve your goals.
How to recognise if you have imposter syndrome
It’s not always easy to recognise when you have imposter syndrome, that’s why I’ve put together five patterns below to watch out for.
Self-doubt – When you suffer from imposter syndrome your lack of confidence is constant and pervasive. You’ll have thoughts such as ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I’m not good enough’.
Perfectionism – Those with a perfectionist nature often suffer from imposter syndrome as they set unrealistically high goals for themselves and then feel shame or disappointment when they fail.
Being called out – One of the characteristics of imposter syndrome is being haunted by the fear that you’re constantly going to get ‘called out’ or ‘discovered’ as a fraud. This can result in people pushing themselves extremely hard in order to prevent being exposed while refusing to accept that their efforts are good enough.
Not owning your success – Down-playing your success and being consumed with negative self-talk from your inner critic. Convincing themselves that they don’t deserve success and passing off challenging tasks as ‘easy’ so as to not accept the achievement.
If you recognise any of these characteristics in yourself then you my friend are suffering from imposter syndrome. The good news is you can do something about it!
Three ways to ditch your imposter syndrome
The following section will give you some useful tips to overcome imposter syndrome and recognise and accept your success and achievements.
Acknowledge your feelings – Accepting how you’re feeling and why is a great first step to overcoming imposter syndrome. A useful method is to journal your thoughts. Grab yourself a notebook and when your inner critic pops up, insisting that ‘you’re a fraud’, reach for your pad and jot down your thoughts about why you feel like this. Be as specific as possible, reflect on your negative statement and counteract it with a positive statement.
Understand your strengths and weaknesses – By becoming more aware of your strengths and weakness you’ll be able to increase your confidence. Again, grab a pad and this time set a timer for 20 minutes and brainstorm all your strengths and weaknesses. You might at first have a list of weaknesses that is longer than your strengths.
If you get stuck, speak to friends and family members as they’ll see strengths in you that you won’t necessarily see in yourself. When you have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, or areas of development as I like to call them, you’ll spend less time worrying about your achievements.
Own your successes – Instead of rejecting compliments and attributing your success to others or external factors, start to enjoy your success. You can do this by getting into the habit of visualising your success in advance. This is a great thing to incorporate into your morning routine for a couple of minutes each day. Also, keep a record of positive feedback that you receive and practice listening to praise and accepting the compliment.
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