Ever felt unworthy of your success? Like this is all a big mistake and you shouldn’t be in this position? You might be the proud owner of imposter syndrome.
Spoiler alert: you’re worth it. So don’t let self-doubt and unhealthy “perfectionism” bring you down, and learn how to deal with imposter syndrome with our expert tips.
Imposter syndrome is the belief that you’re not as skilled or as qualified as others see you. Feeling like a fraud despite your skills, talents and accomplishments is an expression of self-doubt and lack of self-confidence. It’s often linked to an inferiority complex: you think other people are more competent and knowledgeable than you are, so they shouldn’t trust your expertise and abilities.
Whether it’s in the first days of a new job or throughout their career, many people will experience it at some point. Feeling like a fraud can have a massive impact on your mental health. It can feel overwhelming but time and believing in yourself can help you overcome imposter syndrome. Here are some of our best tips for dealing with imposter syndrome:
Important reminder: the way you see yourself doesn’t necessarily reflect who you are. That’s why it’s essential to talk about your imposter syndrome with people you trust – friends, family or a therapist. Talking it out will let you see yourself through someone else’s eyes and help change your perception. It’ll also help you put words to what you’re feeling and might help you realise where you’re not giving yourself enough credit.
It’s easy to feel like you’re underperforming when you’re constantly bombarded with images of overachievement on social media. When you start comparing yourself to someone else, take off your envy goggles and be honest with yourself. Are you comparing what’s comparable? Feeling like a fraud means you often miss what’s behind the scenes to indulge in negativity.
A lot of work, people, money or time might have gone into presenting you with that seemingly picture-perfect result. Question what you’re seeing from people before you use it to feed your imposter syndrome. Everybody is unique. We have different resources and challenges which means our path to success doesn’t look the same – and that’s ok.
A healthy dose of self-doubt can be a great way to challenge yourself and progress, but it’s important to stay objective when criticising your own achievements. If you’re going to investigate what you’ve done “wrong”, you should also accept what you’ve done right. Constantly chasing an unachievable standard of perfection without acknowledging your successes can also lead to anxiety and burnout.
Feeling like a fraud is a sign you’re having trouble internalising your achievements. Celebrating your successes can help you overcome imposter syndrome by making you accept those accomplishments as yours. There are lots of ways you can acknowledge your successes: treat yourself to a little something, write it down in your Journal, or share the news with a loved one. You can also pop a party popper if that floats your boat – maybe just not in the office.
Positive affirmations could be the key to improving your self-esteem. This seemingly innocent self-care trend has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and for a good reason. While they’re not the answer to everything, affirmations can help boost your confidence and help you adopt new, healthier thinking patterns.
Affirmations are positive spoken or written statements you repeat to yourself to challenge negative thoughts. Write them on a Post-It and stick them to your mirror or on your desk as a daily reminder you’re worth it and you deserve your successes. You can also print them on Postcards to decorate your walls (just saying).
If you think you don’t deserve your success, changing your perspective can help you see things differently. Let’s side with your negative thoughts for a second and consider the situation. Even if you didn’t deserve these achievements, don’t you think it’s a success in itself having reached your position? Think about it: no matter your skills, knowledge or abilities, you’ve successfully managed to get where you are and, if nothing else, made everyone think you’re doing a great job at it. Plus, you do deserve it.
Success is great, but you shouldn’t let it define you. Your worth doesn’t depend on what you manage to accomplish. The sole fact of being alive is a success in itself. Try to shift your sense of value to this simple truth. You are a unique human being. You don’t need to prove anything else to the world – or yourself.
Start your journey to overcome imposter syndrome by celebrating successes and repeating positive affirmations in your MOO Journal.