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Imposter Syndrome

It's quite a strong term and rightly so. It is used to describe people who feel they are not as competent or as qualified as others think they are. And it doesn't matter what profession you are in because it isn't so much about the profession, as it is the person.

Usually the individual has achieved some great things and are often seen as successful, but for them personally they feel like they are frauds who have managed to slip through the net or just haven't been caught out yet.

There are some who may experience imposter syndrome due to a lack of confidence, while others believe it is down to luck or the hard work of others rather than their own hard work. Fear of failure and a fear of not living up to other peoples expectations may also be linked to it.

The impact of can lead to stress, low self-esteem and anxiety, as well as preventing people from pursing their goals and reaching their full potential. They may also avoid challenging situations or opportunities for growth and development due to feeling like they are not competent or qualified enough.

I have experienced this myself in the past and had a bit of a wobble last year, as you may have seen in my earlier post Cheerleader available!!

I've also had clients who have experienced the same: university lecturers, entrepreneurs, managers, who despite doing well, felt it was a complete fluke, stroke of luck and other sayings such as "hiding in the open and praying no one catches me". It didn't matter how often they were praised and their success celebrated, they still didn't believe what others were telling them or the evidence showed.

Thankfully though there are ways and means to overcome this. These include:

  1. Acknowledging your feelings. The first step in overcoming imposter syndrome is to acknowledge that you are experiencing these feelings. By recognising your thoughts and emotions, and knowing that these feelings are common among successful individuals.

  2. Reframing your thoughts. This involves changing the way you think about yourself and your abilities. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses and insecurities, try to focus on your strengths and achievements.

  3. Seeking support. Try talking to others who have experienced imposter syndrome. This can be a helpful way to overcome these feelings. You could also seek the support of a therapist, coach or mentor who can help you work through these feelings and develop strategies to overcome them.

  4. Expectations. Ensuring they are realistic helps to reduce the stress and anxiety related to imposter syndrome. It's important to understand that everyone makes mistakes and success is not always a straight path. Believe it or not, your mistakes can become a great learning tool if you can reframe your thoughts around it. Success isn't always a straight path.

  5. Celebrating your accomplishments. Doing this can help boost your confidence and reduce the feelings of imposter syndrome. Keep a record of your achievements and take time to reflect on them regularly.

  6. Face your fears. This might mean taking on a new challenge or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. By doing this you can learn that you are capable of more than you though and worthy of the success you have achieved.

  7. Practising self-compassion. Many of us can be kind and show compassion to others, but how about towards yourself, especially during difficult times. This can help reduce feelings of self-doubt and increase feelings of self-worth.

Imposter syndrome is a common feeling experienced by many individuals as they succeed in life. It can have a significant impact on their lives and while it is doing this, it may well stop them from reaching their true potential.

The big question is, if this is you, are you going to let is stop you from reaching yours?


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