Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Do you ever feel like you’re an imposter, inadequate, or that you don’t deserve to be in your job? Or that everything you have achieved must be down to pure luck. Do you even imagine wild scenarios that one day you will ‘get found out’ and eventually be sacked!

Well, sounds like you have a touch of imposter syndrome, but don’t worry it isn’t a diagnosable mental illness, but rather a feeling or an internal belief. And it is more common than you think!

You are not alone

73% of our LinkedIn following shared that they have suffered from imposter syndrome. Other studies have also found that around 70% of people have experienced imposter syndrome.

It is a REAL thing, and you are not alone!

Many of us experience negative, intrusive, self-doubting thoughts but the irony is, we often think we are the only ones. But that is our monkey mind believing that others don’t have the same fears or flaws that we have.

Remember, we often present our best selves to others, we only see a snippet or an ideal of our peers. It isn’t the usual office chat to talk about your irrational fears and worries over tea and a biscuit.

Did you know that Albert Einstein called himself an ‘involuntary swindler’, or that Michelle Obama thought she was ‘too loud, too much and dreaming too big’, or prizewinning author Maya Angelou thought ‘uh-oh, they are going to find out now’, that she was somehow a fraud after 11 books!

It is often the ambitious, the perfectionists, the creatives, or the underrepresented groups that are susceptible to imposter syndrome.

So how do we manage it?

1/ Reinforce positive thoughts. If we want to change a behaviour, psychology tells us that positive reinforcement will give us the best outcome.

Some tips are words of affirmation that ‘you are valuable’, ‘you have talent’, and ‘you are capable’. If these seem a little odd, why not think about the way you add value to your company or what excites you about your work.

If you need more convincing, gather evidence for yourself. You could create a positive inbox folder where you save any positive feedback you have received at work. The more evidence you collect, the stronger your case and likelihood to convince yourself that you are worthy of your job.

2/Be realistic and remember that intrusive thoughts will never go away. But that mindset is a cultivation, and we have the power to change it. So, stop entertaining self-destructive thoughts, and they will lack substance and truth. If we don’t feed the fire it cannot burn.

3/Avoid comparison. A lot of the time when we compare ourselves to others, it can spiral into negative feelings. Our overexposure to social media also increases our tendency to compare our lives and successes to others. But remember, it’s mostly smoke and mirrors and what you see is a moment.

Briana Wiest, the author of ‘101 Essays That Change the Way You Think’, describes comparison as a very self-centred habit. She writes, “the idea that other people exist in comparison to oneself is mindless at best and selfish at worst”.

4/Talk about it. Creating a conversation opens so many doors and increases awareness so others don’t feel alone. By letting your fears go, they lose their hold and power. So, talk about it, get deep and you won’t regret it.

So, feeling less like a fraud and more like a successful and valuable human? Great! Get in touch with us at Realtime to discuss your next opportunity. We both know you are capable.