Imposter Syndrome: Is self-doubt holding you back?
It’s tricky to follow your dreams, be confident and decisive and take risks when you have the voice of doubt always in your head. Imposter syndrome refers to the feeling that one’s achievements will be revealed as being fraudulent and that one is not capable of their role. These are our tips to prevent it from ruling your life.
Identify Imposter Syndrome for what it is
Imposter Syndrome is characterised by a sincere lack of belief in your own abilities and the sense that you will be ‘found out’ by your employers or colleagues. It, of course, can be hugely damaging to mental health and career confidence. It is very common and studies suggest that up to 70% of us will experience it at some point during our careers. Although some studies suggested that it was more prevalent in women, that does not seem to be the case and both men and women suffer.
If you suffer from nagging doubts about your abilities, if you perceive your colleagues to exceed your intelligence or if you obsess about minor mistakes, take a step back. Do you have evidence to suggest that your fears are justified? Have your ‘mistakes’ been noticed or resulted in criticism? Have there been complaints made about your work? If not, you may well be suffering from imposter syndrome.
Strategies to prevent self-doubt from taking over
Easier said than done, right? Recognise those unhelpful thoughts coming through and try to analyse whether the facts stack up. Actively refuse to beat yourself up and try to look at your work from an outsider’s point of view.
Review the positives
Imagine that you’re your boss and you’re preparing a review. A good boss will accentuate the positives, and that’s what you’re going to do. What have you achieved over the past month? Nothing? Think harder. Once you think of a view positives they normally start to flow.
Dwelling on feelings of inadequacy tends to happen if you don’t actively address ‘failures’. The abstract feelings of disappointment can mount up and lead to serious mental health problems. Address mishaps and don’t let them spiral into serious issues. If you come home stressed and depressed take a bit of time to work out what’s gone wrong. Once you start to analyse you normally realise that it’s not that important or that the issue is not your fault.
Top Achievers have suffered from Imposter Syndrome
Few people would question the achievements of Neil Armstrong, Maya Angelou or Tom Hanks but they all have reported having suffered from imposter syndrome. Feeling inexperienced or inadequate is part of character and not a genuine reflection of ability. If you have been assigned a role it’s because someone believes you have the skills and intelligence to perform well. Remember that you haven’t tricked them into believing you!