Do you often feel like you do not know what you’re doing and that you might get found out and exposed?
Do you look at other people’s achievements and dismiss them as special circumstances that you could never recreate for yourself?
The good news is that you’re not alone, and there’s hope!
What is Impostor Syndrome?
In 1978, clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes coined the term “impostor phenomenon” to describe that feeling of inadequacy that we all tend to feel sometimes.
“Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers.”
How To Deal With Impostor Syndrome.
Be aware of the phenomenon.
Just knowing that this is a real psychological pattern that even the most successful people deal with is enough to help you be kinder to yourself.
Every time you catch yourself having those negative thoughts, take the time to acknowledge them for what they really are — just thoughts — and try to redirect your mind or actions to something more constructive.
Be as honest as you can.
Admit publicly (or to the relevant parties) that you’re not an expert and watch those pesky little thoughts lose their power real quick! After all, you can’t be exposed for something you’ve already owned up to, right?
There’s a lot of value in personal experiences, and some people even consider them to be more reliable than “expert” opinions while evaluating situations – this is exactly why user reviews are so important when you’re trying to buy a new product.
Make room for failure.
Know that even the best fail sometimes, and not getting something right on your first (or fifth) try doesn’t mean you’re an impostor.
Look at how many times the Apple iPhone has been revamped and upgraded, and all these times we were willing to spend our hard earned cash and upgrade with them! Not to mention that Steve Jobs was fired from his own company before he finally came back and made Apple what it is today.
Treat your life like a phone application – a few glitches don’t make your work worthless, and they can always be ironed out in the next version.
Start before you feel ready.
It’s very rare that you’ll feel completely ready to embark on a new experience, so do your research and prepare yourself, but don’t hold out for perfection. You’ll figure everything out as you go along.
The more you put yourself out there, the more confident you will feel going forward.
Keep positive feedback for quick reference.
If all else fails, turn to other people for help! Keep all your favorite compliments that you’ve received handy, and use them to remind yourself that you are worthy and that all of the amazing things you’ve done are as a result of our own hard work.
What have you been avoiding because you convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough?
Original Research Paper: Clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes