Imposter Syndrome is when you don’t believe your success is deserved or you feel like you’re not really qualified. Maybe better describes as chronic self doubt. The most common way imposter syndrome shows itself is when we are public speaking. We suddenly get the feeling that we aren’t qualified enough to be the person speaking on front of a crowd. People with imposter syndrome have an increased chance of suffering with anxiety. It’s important to be able to recognise the signs of imposter syndrome in yourself and work on them so you can be the best version of yourself.
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Signs Of Imposter Syndrome
It’s estimated that 70% of people will experience these imposter feelings at some point in their lives. It doesn’t discriminate and affects people of all ages, sexes and backgrounds. These feelings can be really anxiety inducing so it’s important that we try to identify these signs as early as possible.
Common signs of imposter syndrome are:
- Being scared that you won’t live up to expectations
- Looking negatively on your own performance
- Setting unrealistic goals and feeling very disappointed when you don’t meet them
- Pinning your success on external factors
Sure, it can be good to help fuel our motivation. However, it can also cause us to work too hard and cause us to burn out very quickly. It’s easy to get caught in an unhealthy cycle when we have these feelings, a good example being staying up all night to complete an essay and getting a pass then thinking you only got the pass because you stayed up all night then doing it again next time you have an essay due.
Types Of Imposter Syndrome
Over the years, different types of imposter syndrome have been identified. Each one has similarities so the way to deal with them is very similar. Personally, I feel I fit into one or two of these which I think it pretty normal. Remember that if you are struggling with any of these, you aren’t alone and there are people to talk to.
The perfectionist will never be satified with their work and will always see ways they can improve. They have a habit of focussing on their flaws or mistakes over their strengths and positives. This can cause a lot of self-pressure and lead to anxious feelings. They will often feel that they have to be perfect 100% of the time and will give themselves a really hard time if they don’t get a high mark in a test.
The superheoes believe that they are imposters among real-deal colleagues. They feel inadequate to work harder to compensate, often staying behind at work and getting stress when they aren’t working or have any downtime. Burnout and anxiety are common in the superhero.
The soloist doesn’t like asking for help. They feel it shows them to be imposters and prefer to work alone. Soloists would prefer to struggle than to accept help and their self-worth is often married to their productivity. It’s, of course, fine to work alone and be independent, but not when you’re struggling and overworking yourself instead of seeking help.
The expert is always trying to learn more, they base their competence on what they know and can do. Often highly skilled, they will underrate their performance and feel like, despite years of study or work on a subject, that they still don’t know enough to be a spokesperson.
The Natural Genius
The natural genius will set themselves really hard and often unrealistic goals. If it takes them a long time to complete something, or they don’t manage on the first try they feel inadequate. They may even avoid challenges because they don’t want to try something they aren’t amazing at.
What Can We Do About Imposter Syndrome
As with everything, there is no “one size fits all” solution to dealing with imposter syndrome or an overnight fix, but there are plenty of things you can try until you find what is right for you. Please remember that what is right for you, may not work for someone else. It’s important to let people find their own solutions and be there to support them rather than tell them what works.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
If you spend your whole life looking at other people’s succes and wonder why you don’t have it, of course you’re going to feel inadequate. Stop comparing yourself to other people, the cold truth is that they probably experience impsoter syndrome on a day-to-day basis as well. You are your own person and every ability you have is special and should be nurtured.
Talk To Someone About Your Imposter Syndrome
Whether it’s a chat with your friends, or signing up for a therapist. Get your feelings out there. If you let the negative thoughts take over, you’re going to feel down and possibly anxious. Letting it all out and giving yourself a chance to be heard will help you to feel that little bit better about it all. They may even have some great advice for you.
Change The Narrative
When negative thoughts are swirling around in your head, challenge them. Instead of letting them take over, ask whether your performance is actually bad or whether it’s a negative mindset getting you down. Learn how to change your negative mindset into a positive one through techniques like mindfulness and using a thoughts diary.
Remember That Perfection Doesn’t Exist
There is no such thing as a perfect human or a perfect piece of work, so don’t pressure yourself into achieving it. Mistakes are an innevitable part of life and things will go wrong. When we realise all of this, we set ourselves up to be mentally healthier and have higher self-esteem.
Seperate Feelings From Fact
You may feel inadequate, but if you’ve been passing tests or getting good feedback then you should focus on the fact. Read what’s there in black and white to realise that you are succeeding and you don’t need to overwork yourself to prove it. This is another good method to turn negative thoughts around.
That’s my advice for overcoming impsoter syndrome, if you have anything else you feel would help others please feel free to share them below.