“I am a fraud.”
“What am I doing here?”
“I just got lucky.”
“They will find out I am fake.”
Can you relate? Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome (IS)? Do you know what it is?
In the past weeks I have received new clients who come to me because they feel they suffer from Impostor Syndrome. I can see how they beat themselves up with thoughts of not being adequate or like a fraud in a specific situation, usually work related. This comes with a lot of overthinking which leads to anxiety, fear, and emotional exhaustion.
Impostor Syndrome is a fairly new term that was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in year 2020, with the following definition:
“ a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.”
I believe the feelings that come with IS are very similar to those that come with shame; a lot of discomfort in your body, feelings of inadequacy and thoughts of “not being good enough”. Although anyone can suffer from it, perfectionists and/or over achievers are the some of the ones who suffer most from this.
When you feel like a fraud, you are constantly doubting yourself, you feel someone else can do a better job that you, and that you don’t deserve to celebrate your achievements because they are mostly out of luck. Those who suffer from this syndrome need to work to overcome it, otherwise it can seriously affect their performance since they are constantly overdoing and trying to prove themselves to others.
Some ideas to help you overcome Impostor Syndrome are:
- Name it and talk about it – it is great that we have a name for this sensation. Shame loves to keep you quiet to grow on you… reach out to someone you trust and let them know how you feel. You will immediately feel the relief in both, your body and your mind.
- Find Evidence – For the most part, these are just stories we make up in our minds. They can spiral us into a hole if we don’t stop the thoughts in our heads. Find evidence of what you are thinking, you will most probably find none and this will help you free yourself from the IS sensations.
- Let go of perfectionism – I know this is easier said than done, however, maybe you can switch perfectionism for thriving for excellence. This will be achievable and free you from feelings of inadequacy since perfection is impossible.
- Stop comparing yourself – make a very conscious effort to stop comparing yourself to others. In social media, at the office, at school or in your mind. STOP. It is an act of self compassion to yourself and others.
- Work your confidence and be honest with yourself – before showing up, be sure you know your competencies in the topic and be honest with what you don’t know about. Also, acknowledge there are certain times where if is normal fo feel this way. For example, if you are a woman doing something in what have been considered a man’s world, it is pretty common to feel impostor syndrome.
I will stress again the importance of reaching out to someone and talk about how you are feeling as your fist step into freeing yourself from Impostor Syndrome.