WORDS OF WISDOM
WORDS OF WISDOM
Supporting Women in Business & Beyond. Bridging the gap between Ambition and Wellbeing.
Because being behind it means it’s an obstacle.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome or Imposterism has been around for a while. This is what it’s currently known as but who knows in a few years it might have a new name.
Imposter Syndrome generally affects your professional life and is described, as having a persistent feeling of inadequacy despite there being evidence to the contrary. Even though you’ve experienced success in your life, you still have the feeling you’re a fraud, a fake or you’re not good enough and at some point you will be found out and marched off the premises.
The interesting thing about Imposterism is that it affects high achievers, people who for all intents and purposes could be most proud of themselves for what they’ve achieved in life, but instead they are mired in self-doubt.
I see Imposterism as part of self-development or growing pains, uncomfortable but if you want to go further in life, necessary.
The logical mind might tell us the feeling we’re experiencing of feeling like a fraud doesn’t make any sense, but the intense emotive feeling of self-doubt does not lend itself well to logic.
If you’re feeling challenged in this area here are a few things to consider:
You are enough
You’re the only one who feels this way in relation to your achievements and performance, everyone else is either too worried about their own imposter syndrome or busy giving the boss what she needs. Find your way to work through your challenge so you can continue being a great achiever.
You are doing ‘something right’ and doing ‘lots of things very well’, find a non virtual group were you can share and talk through what you’re experiencing with a view to alleviating your ‘growing pains’, so you can start enjoying what you do more.
What are the things you are good at? What are the things that make you feel good? Do more of these, whilst you figure out where you really are on the fraud scale.
Create a new story
These feelings of Imposterism were more than likely created when you took on a new role perhaps it was a promotion, or you were asked to do something new and didn’t know where to start, or maybe it was when you starting working for yourself. Go back in your mind and find the instance when you created these unhelpful thoughts of feeling like a fraud. Once you’ve found this, ask yourself what new thought or story can I create for myself that’s more helpful.
Write up your strengths and any weaknesses you would like to improve. What you write should be factual and evidence based. If you aren’t sure ask someone you know who is objective, to help you. The strengths will support you in being more confident and the weaknesses will give you something to become better at, ultimately both are designed to help you feel better about yourself.
Comparing can be Impairing
If your version of ‘feeling like a fraud’ stems from comparing yourself to others, you might not recognise this is what you’re doing. Remember we all have very different stories, memories and experiences. We come from different backgrounds, for the most part comparing yourself to others and feeling bad about where you are is unhelpful. If you are going to compare make sure it’s for the right reasons and helps you stay focused to achieve what you want.
Fear of Success & Fear of Failure
Fear of success or fear of failure are also linked with Imposter syndrome and have the ability to cause further anxiety. Recognise that what you fear are amplified thoughts and expectations of the unknown. Once you become aware of this and own your fear you’ll be able to challenge these thoughts and begin to move beyond what you fear.
Who might’ve influenced your self-doubt?
Acknowledge any adult or person of influence who might’ve instilled in you the belief of self-doubt you carry.
This might look like one of the following or similar:
This person would've had their own reasons for doing this, which is not yours to carry. As humans we are complex and unique. There may be different reasons why imposter syndrome presents a challenge in your life. If you're able to acknowledge where it stemmed from and your experience with it, you can seek help to define a more comfortable and content future.
Help and Support
I’ve been working with a small group of women on this topic and some of these methods are based on what has worked well and been most effective at interrupting unhelpful thought patterns around the topic of Imposterism.
“Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true”
Want some help on your version of Imposter Syndrome? Please get in touch with me to book your ‘wake up’ call.
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