Have you been thinking lately that you’re way out of your depth with the last project you took on, a job interview you went for, or the promotion at work? Congratulations! You’re now welcomed (with open arms) into the Imposter Syndrome Club.
So, what exactly is imposter syndrome?
It’s that tiny (but LOUD) voice inside of you that says you’re not good enough. Making you believe that luck is the only reason you’ve achieved anything worthwhile in life.
Negative self-talk is your first language, and you’re filled with self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety.
You’re constantly worried your colleagues will figure out you’re a ‘fraud’, and that you don’t deserve any of your accomplishments.
A book by imposter syndrome expert Dr Valerie Young dives into the most common types of imposter syndrome. Here’s what they can look like in daily situations:
- The Natural Genius: You strive to master any task with minimal effort—if you have to work hard at it, then you mustn’t be very good.
- The Perfectionist: The standards you set for yourself are unrealistic, and you beat yourself up if you haven’t reached those goals.
- The Superwoman/Man: You believe you can do it all, so you say ‘yes’ to everything, even when struggling to keep up with tasks.
- The Expert: In your mind, you can only be an absolute success if you know everything, about everything.
- The Soloist: You put all the pressure on yourself and rarely ask for help—this is your way of proving your worth to your employer or family.
Any of the above sound familiar?
You’re not alone, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! Based on a study done by the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people will experience this at some point in their lives or career.
This can happen to anyone—including high achievers and the most successful people in the world!
We’re only human, and when we’re truly passionate about our goals it can make us insecure and fearful of what will happen to those if we don’t give it our all.
Luckily, there are many ways to combat this feeling!
Here are 4 tips that will help you feel your best, and overcome imposter syndrome:
1. Recognise your achievements: Take a look at everything you’ve accomplished so far. Any awards, bonuses, or high praise for the amazing work you’ve done. The proof is all there— let this soak in and allow yourself to feel confident in your current role or situation.
2. Stop comparisons: Be authentically you. Stressing about how others do things, or what they have is only going to hinder your progress. You can acknowledge those people and be happy for them, but make sure you also recognise how wonderful you are—no one can do it like you can!
3. Talk about it: As we said before, you’re not alone in this. Your peers, bosses, family, and friends are all experiencing imposter syndrome in some way. The more we normalise being open about our fears and sharing our stories, the more relief everyone will feel (and it will start to slowly fade away).
4. Be kind to yourself (most important!): Celebrate everything amazing about you. Invest in your own personal development. Journal the things you are grateful for. Shift your mindset from “I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ll never get it right!” to… “It’s okay that I don’t know everything about _____, we all start somewhere. I am excited to learn, grow, and further my development in the best way I know how.”
You have a uniqueness to share with the world, let that shine!
While it can feel overwhelming at times, remember you’re doing the best you can.
Sometimes, it’s best to start before you’re ready and gain your skills along the way. No one gets it right 100% of the time, and the best way to learn is to make mistakes. You’ve got this!