Impostor syndrome is a psychological condition where people are unable to believe in their successes. Thus, despite the evidence that points to the fact that they are skilled, capable and competent they write this off as temporary – or timing and good luck. Thus, they constantly struggle with feeling like a fraud.
So what are some ways that you can counteract this syndrome?
- Admit this is something that you suffer from. When we know we’re not alone, and our symptoms have a name (because they are part of an identified disorder) it can help disperse the feelings of anxiety and shame.
- Distinguish between facts and feelings. Everyone feels stupid and inept at times. That doesn’t mean we’re stupid. Our feelings aren’t facts. So try to be objective – and seek out the real truth.
- Don’t demand perfection. It is good to set goals and have high standards for yourself. However, it’s unhealthy to obsess over every little thing. You’ll simply waste a lot of time and never feel quite satisfied. And all of us are human and make lots of mistakes.
- Take a look at the rules you have imposed upon yourself. Are you saying to yourself: “I have to always get it right”;”I should never ask for help”; or “It is bad to make mistakes”? These are misguided rules that undermine your self-esteem. They set you up for failure as they close the door to help.
- Change the tapes in your head. Instead of constantly repeating faulty self-destructive thoughts (such as “Wait till they discover just how useless I am”) replace it with a thought that builds esteem and confidence. (Such as, “I’m better at this now as I know what I am doing … It’s so much easier when you’ve been here for a while.”)
- Don’t look to others to affirm your success. Don’t look to other people to rate and judge your work. Set your own personal goals, and mark your progress and success.
- Fake it till you make it. Almost every individual who succeed in life has a period when they’re acting, as they don’t feel confident. It doesn’t mean that they’re a failure, a fake or a fraud. It means that they’re still learning, and are not afraid to try.