Imposter Syndrome is the false and debilitating belief that all of your achievements and success are actually a huge fraud and you have an intense fear that you will be found out. You may feel as if you have landed your career through sheer luck rather than because of your abilities. The funny thing is, this is often seen in high achievers as they demand so much of themselves. Imposter Syndrome can affect a person’s mental health and cause anxiety and depression. The fear of being ‘found out’ can cause workers to put walls up and block others out as they desperately try to hide their perceived inadequacy. So how can we begin to try and face this?
It’s difficult to be open and vulnerable in the workplace as you don’t want to be seen as weak or incapable. But internalising your fears can lead to a sense of overwhelming shame, when in actual fact, many of us often experience the same worries. Sharing your concerns with someone you trust can really help in fighting feelings of isolation or incompetency. It’s such a relief when we realise that we are not alone in our suffering and others may even be going through the same thing. It can normalise our feelings and helps us to move past them.
Although there will be times where you will feel incompetent, realise that it happens to everyone from time to time and it does not need to cloud your entire day. Getting something wrong at work doesn’t need to be the end of the world. We learn by failing or by not knowing something in the first place. And each time we mess up, it’s an opportunity to advance. Take some deep breaths, meditate or go for a run and clear your head. Resist the urge to get inside your head and emotionally spiral. Remain pragmatic and calm. Yes, you may have made a mistake, but now you know how to handle the situation better in future.
Focus on the positive
Being a perfectionist can be a good thing. It means that you really care about your work and always aim to deliver to a high standard. You take great pride in what you do and are a conscientious worker. But having these criteria to uphold is unrealistic; you can’t always be the best so go easy on yourself – you are human after all!
Not feeling confident? Don’t have all the answers? Feeling apprehensive? Plough through anyway! Figure it out as you go along and don’t be scared to ask for help. Often when we do great work, we don’t have it all worked out. But by progressing forward, we can fake it until we make it and learn important information as we charge ahead. Don’t get trapped in paralysis analysis – where are so intent on having all the knowledge that we are stuck like a deer in the headlights, unable to move at all. Without action – nothing happens. The sooner we are wrong, the faster we know which way is right. Act now.
As you learn to cope with Imposter Syndrome, life will get much easier. And although you may have tackled it one area or situation of your life; it doesn’t mean that it won’t show up again. It’s normal to revert back to old habits or ways of thinking but the more you face things head on and use the tools to move past these limiting beliefs, the more you can enjoy your success and accomplish even more.