Have you ever thought of yourself “I don’t know what I’m doing, and people will notice” or “I’m a fake”? Do you attribute your current success to sheer luck that you don’t deserve?
Or maybe such thoughts and feelings come up mainly when you start something new, like running a business or public speaking or a new job.
The chances are, you’ve had these thoughts at some point in your life, most of us do.
This psychological phenomenon is called imposter syndrome and described as “a phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” In other words, you’re feeling like an imposter when you’re telling yourself that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent, qualifications, and hard work.
What’s interesting is that the researchers haven’t really discovered the reason behind such feelings. There is no one prevailing influential scientific theory to explain why you feel this way.
However, an imposter syndrome expert Valerie Young, who wrote a book on this subject, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, has found patterns in people who experience imposter feelings. Here they are.
5 Types of people who tend to experience imposter syndrome feelings mostly
- “Perfectionists” – if you’re one of them, you set extremely high expectations for yourself. You tend to feel like a failure even if you meet 99% of your goals. Any small mistake makes you question your own competence. I’m sure you know by now that perfection is very destructive. Do you equally know that you can fight it with excellence? How? Click here to read more
- “Experts” – if you’re one of them, you feel the need to know every piece of information before you start anything. You constantly look for new certifications or training to improve your skills. You might be hesitant to ask a question or speak up during a networking event because you’re afraid of looking stupid.
- “Natural genius” – when everything comes easy to you, the moment you struggle or need to work hard to accomplish something, you start thinking you aren’t good enough.
- “Soloists” feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a failure or a fraud.
- As a “Supermen” or “superwomen” you push yourself to work harder than those around you to prove that you’re not an imposter. You feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life and may feel stressed when you’re not accomplishing something.
If you found yourself in any of the types above, then I invite you to read the rest of this blog.
Seven strategies that will help you deal with the imposter syndrome.
- Recognize when you have such thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Acknowledge and name them. Awareness is the first step to any change. Without knowing that you have such feelings, it will be hard to deal with them.
- Share them with a trusted friend, a mentor, or a coach. Talking through anything with a trusted person brings relief and allows to look at the challenge from a different perspective. Not only your trustee can listen to your struggle but also help you deal with it.
- Reframe your thinking. It’s normal to have a moment of doubt, but the key here is not to let the doubt take over the control of your actions. So next time you get the feeling, remind yourself that no one knows it all, and no one is perfect. You learn by doing and the more you do to more you know. Remind yourself that your successes are the result of your hard work and making it happen for yourself and not luck. Visualize your next success.
- Know that you’re not alone. Over 70% of people experience imposter syndrome in one form or another regularly. Even more, have such thoughts occasionally. Quite often, they are the most successful and accomplished ones. In a way, most of us live in a “pluralistic ignorance,” which means that we occasionally doubt our ability but think that we’re the only one feeling this way. Isn’t there something comforting in knowing that you’re not the only person on the planet with such feelings? If others have them and can deal with them, you can as well!
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Yes, I get it, many other people do what you do. Have similar or the same business, speak on the same topics, or apply for the same job. But remember, you are unique. The experiences you’ve had in your life, combined with the skills you have are your competitive advantage. They shape whatever you do in a unique way. Your work is important and needed; so share it. Don’t rob the world from what you have to offer. You never know who you can help and inspire.
- Focus on providing value to others. When you take the center of your attention from you and channel it on serving and helping others, magic happens. This way, instead of thinking of challenges as failures, you can treat them as an opportunity to learn. Think about it, because of such learnings you end up providing even more value to your clients, audience or employer.
- Take action. There is nothing better than conquers any doubt or fear like action. The more we do of something, the more we learn and the more confident we become. Still not convinced? Read this.
Moreover, taking action also means asking for help. As a business coach, I work with my clients not only on business strategies or hard business skills but also on their mindset. If you have a mentor or a coach, don’t be scared of telling them about your thoughts. They hold you back, and people who care about you can help you overcome them.
At the end of the day, here is what I want to tell you: You are here for a reason. In your business, your life, your job, you are worthy, talented, and competent. You know much more than you give yourself credit for. You are much better than you think you are. You are much smarter than you think you are. Remember that. And if you think repeating it to yourself won’t help, then sometimes all you need is a little boost. Maybe it’s having someone believing in you more than you do.
2020 is around the corner, wouldn’t it be amazing to enter it with full confidence in your abilities and strategic plan for your business? How about systems and habits that will allow you not only carry out the plan but also feel amazing and keep imposter syndrome thoughts to the negligible minimum.
If you said yes to those questions, I invite you to join me in my Biz&Life Balance online group coaching program. In it, over six weeks we’ll be working on ensuring that 2020 is your best year ever, not only in your business but also life. Interested? Click the button below to find out more!