Imposter Syndrome

Everybody suffers from imposter syndrome, it’s just that nobody is terribly honest about it. Feeling like you’re getting away with something creates the internal fear of being a fraud.

No matter how successful and accomplished you appear – from shipping magnates to modern world industrialists, if you feel it’s only a matter of time before you get found out, you may not be living your fullest life.

The roots of the condition are believed to lie in the praise you did or did not receive in your early years.  It’s easy to internalize a negative view of your achievements if you didn’t receive adequate encouragement or acknowledgment as you were growing up. 

Identifying Characteristics

Overworking, perfectionism, or struggling with criticism are all signs of imposter syndrome. You have a tendency to believe that other people have a better life than you despite striving to be the best at what you do.  In your eyes, they’re more successful, more confident, and more fulfilled.

The constant obsession with benchmarking yourself against someone else can soon spiral out of control. Left unchecked this hang-up can eventually start to shape your sense of self-worth.

Surely this can’t be a healthy way to live? By constantly sabotaging yourself in this way your feelings of insecurity will grow. You may start to hold yourself back for fear of drawing too much attention to yourself and being exposed as a fraud.

A Change In Perspective

Try to change your perspective and shift your focus from other people to yourself.  You need to invest your energy in your own strengths.  Knowing yourself protects you from merely coveting what others have. Accepting your strengths and weaknesses by increasing your self-awareness can help to wipe out any feelings of incapability.

Many people associate the word ‘criticism’ exclusively with negative feedback but not all criticism comes with bad intentions. Learning to calmly request clarification by taking a deep breath and setting emotion aside can help you to establish the intention behind it.

If you feel what’s being offered is constructive, then you are free to enter into a dialogue. This approach to the situation means you are more open to receiving feedback and can use these opportunities to grow.

It’s important to learn to make any mistakes in your stride, viewing them as a natural part of any process. Perfectionists set excessively high goals for themselves forcing them to experience major self-doubt when they fail to reach them. If you always believe you could have done better then how will you ever experience contentment or cultivate self-confidence.

Self Acceptance

If you’re addicted to the validation that comes from working rather than the work itself, you need to stop looking for external approval and nurture your own inner confidence. Overworking can leave you feeling depleted so learn to switch off and start to act as if the work you’ve done is enough.

Start training yourself to be more attuned to how much work is reasonable. This is your opportunity to start embracing your capabilities, accept that you will sometimes get it wrong, greatness, as they say, is found in those who are willing to learn.

Starting to believe in yourself isn’t something that will happen overnight. In order to be able to start being able to celebrate your successes, you need to start with small changes.

We all suffer self-doubt and negative thoughts, which can limit our capacity for learning and growth. It’s important to change negative self-talk to empowering inner dialogue. By framing your thoughts and words differently you can begin to develop a positive mindset and stop feeling like an imposter.