If you’ve ever felt like you’re just about to be ‘found out’ for not really being that great at what you do, you’re not alone. The phenomenon is so common that was coined ‘Impostor Syndrome’ in the 1970’s and has been estimated to have affected up to 70% of employees at some point during their career.
Research suggests that high achievers are most likely to suffer from impostor syndrome. Typically they set the bar high and frequently feel inadequate. If this describes you, here are some strategies for overcoming the syndrome:
Acknowledge your successes
Look at the evidence of what you have achieved and how. If you tend to attribute your successes to external factors (like timing or luck) examine the factors careful. What part did you play in your success?
Don’t compare yourself to others
Truth be told, there will always be people who appear more talented/ambitious/skilled/creative/funny/[………fill in the blanks!] than you, but in reality most of us are acutely insecure of our deficiencies, battling with self-doubt and winging it just like you.
Talk to someone who can help
Confiding in a trusted friend, psychologist or career coach can help to dispel anxieties and equip you with tools to break the cycle of impostor thinking.
Don’t fear failure
If you’re feeling unworthy of your position you’re also more likely to avoid taking risks. However, playing it safe can leave you more vulnerable to becoming trapped in an unfulfilling situation. Have faith in yourself to venture out of the comfort zone and towards your aspirations – at the very least you’ll have an adventure on the way! I’ll leave the final words to Dr Seuss:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss,