I’m nothing but a fraud.
Someone who has completely fluked their way to where they are now, and all I can do is pray that no one ever realises and exposes me.
That’s a pretty intense start to this blog.
Purposeful though… because you’ll be surprised by how many people relate to that feeling.
Perhaps you do yourself.
If so, it is likely that you are being affected by Imposter Syndrome.
Weighing you down with a pressure, seemingly greater than gravity, are thoughts that your ability and skills do not add up to the sum of where you find yourself now.
You have somehow snuck through some doors, and no one has realised yet and asked you to leave.
It crushes self-confidence and breeds inner doubt and anxieties.
Which is why we are writing this blog because if you are suffering with Imposter Syndrome, we want justice for your hard work, attributes, and achievements.
They deserve your acknowledgment, and you deserve some self-appreciation and credit.
Here are 5 tips to help you identify and ease these thoughts and feelings.
Time for some self-reflection.
Take a look at these questions below, and be honest with yourself with your answers… It really will be beneficial for you if you are:
- Do I deserve to be where I am now?
- Are my achievements in life a result of my abilities, or are they just luck?
- Am I deserving of any of the praise that I am awarded, or am I just fooling all these people into thinking I am better than I am?
Now, before we get into your responses, I want to make a very quick distinction. There is an almighty difference between being humble and doing yourself a disservice.
Humble sounds like this:
‘Yeah of course, I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am, but I also have to credit the people who have helped me on my journey too. Without them, it would have been a whole lot harder.’
Doing yourself a disservice is like this:
‘I am incredibly lucky to be where I am at the moment. Much of it has been down to being in the right places at the right times and somehow just about meeting expectations.’
How would you clarify your responses?
If you are fully embracing your brilliance, being humble about your achievements, or acknowledging that you are more than worthy of where you find yourself, then it is less likely that you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome.
However, if you are repelling from giving yourself any credit, riddled with doubt that the direction of your life has anything to do with your efforts and feeling like you are completely inferior to those around you, then we need to act and start journeying down the road to self-appreciation.
Look Around You
One of the most demoralising thoughts a person can have is that they are the only one struggling.
Hopelessly adrift from everyone else.
Imposter Syndrome though is much more common than you might think. Research has suggested that it affects 70% of people at some point in life.
Now, whilst that is an unfortunately large number of people feeling like imposters in relation to their successes, there is some small comfort in the numbers if you are currently suffering.
That is because your feelings are completely relatable.
Chances are, if you talk to someone about this feeling of inferiority, they will know exactly what you are feeling and can effectively support you.
Also, it can be really easy to get stuck in this downward spiral of thoughts, living in a remote world, completely separated from peers, so be pro-active to address your feelings and reach out to others.
Beyond people you know, there are a load of people in the public eye who have openly discussed their battle with Imposter Syndrome, which has often been a biproduct of their success. David Bowie, Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga to name a few.
These accounts of their struggles can again be incredibly helpful in dealing with your own, especially if that renown person is someone that you admire.
You Can’t Win in a Lose-Lose
How often are you satisfied by your own work and achievements?
This is another important question because, not recognising your own efforts and celebrating your role in your victories can leave you feeling like a passenger… in your own car.
As we said earlier, sometimes people can be quick to accredit many other factors when it comes to positive events in their lives.
Luck being an apparently common key contributor. However, it can seem that people are fearful of patting themselves on the back and celebrating themselves, so will just point their fingers in any other direction to deflect praise.
When the scale is flipped though so can this occurrence. As when hitting a setback or potential failure and people are quick to take the blame for it in its entirety.
Whenever something good happens, I did not play a major part.
Whenever something bad happens, the burden of responsibility is on me.
Give yourself a break.
There is no way in which this can be true.
This could be caused by a constant strive for perfectionism, or a standard which is incredibly difficult or perhaps even impossible to reach, because it does not exist.
If your eyes are set on perfect, then everything underneath is absolutely underwhelming.
Remember though, it is progress we are all searching for, not perfection.
Anyone who knows anything about law knows that there is no greater alternative than rock solid evidence. Other than a confession I suppose.
A lack of proof can really make it difficult to back up an argument.
So, if you are feeling inadequate, and like you are far from what you are seen to be by others… then let’s gather some evidence.
This could be retrospective. You could head back and grab all major and minor successes and analyse your true participation in each.
It could also be set up with an eye to avoid this feeling ever again, as you can track your progress in all aspects in your life, and actually see your ascent into the person you are in the present day.
When you begin to really see all the evidence in favour of you being far from an imposter, it becomes very difficult to argue against.
Silence Your Inner Doubter
So far, we have discussed methods to try to rid yourself of Imposter Syndrome. However, sometimes it is not that simple.
This tip is for anyone who’s symptoms of Imposter Syndrome have been long term. Let’s look to how we can use those deflating thoughts to your benefit for a change.
Can we channel this feeling into something productive and positive?
As I mentioned above, giving yourself evidence that you are far from a fraud is an incredibly effective way to put your finger to the lips of that inner nagging voice.
Would someone, who is not worthy of what they do, embrace new challenges?
It is unlikely. Mainly because they would feel that they are not good enough to rise to it.
However, if you grasp new challenges and jump at opportunities to learn new skills, you are proving to yourself in real time that you are capable.
Important too is to remember the moment you accept a potentially scary challenge, because once you reach its conclusion, and you have tracked all the landmarks within it that you made happen, that start point can be your motivation to go for whatever is next.
It is incredible difficult to stop a mind that’s enriched by new knowledge and addicted to growth.
Before you go, have a look at our video summary of this blog, here:
Alex & The Excel Team
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2022, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
About Excel Communications
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At Excel our purpose is to enable everyone we talk to, to realise their true incredible potential. We work with you to create unforgettable, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results. View our case studies here. We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages.
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