Imposter Syndrome is that nagging voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough. Impostor Syndrome is an incredibly common issue and if it’s affecting you, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 70% of people will experience Impostor Syndrome at some point in their lives and although many men experience Imposter Syndrome, it appears to disproportionately affect high achieving women.
Imposter Syndrome can show up in different ways but the basis is always the same – self-doubt and self-criticism.
- You never feel good enough, despite everything you’ve been able to achieve
- You doubt yourself and what you’re capable of
- You can’t accurately assess your skills and competence and downplay them
- You believe your success is the result of good luck
- You feel anxious that you won’t be up to scratch
- You give yourself a hard time about your performance
- You self-sabotage yourself so you don’t fail
- You work even harder to ‘prove’ yourself to others
- You assume that it’s only a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’ and exposed as a ‘fraud’
Imposter Syndrome is a huge disconnect between how you see yourself and how others see you. Others may see you as the successful person you are, but inside you may feel unworthy and incompetent.
But you can rewrite negative thought patterns, and eliminate the self-sabotaging habits, beliefs and behaviours that are holding you back from the life you truly deserve and rebuild your self belief.
Here’s how to start doing this:
Challenge the voice in your head
When that nagging inner critic starts to shout loudly, try this strategy.
- Notice the voice and what it’s saying
- Give it a name
- Stand up to it
Stop comparing yourself to others
They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s absolutely true. Social media can fuel comparisons to others, especially if you spend a lot of time engaging with accounts that add to your feelings of being a fraud. Try to remember that most of what you see on social media is exactly what people want you to see. It’s much more of an ‘edited highlights’ rather than the true reality of their lives.
There will always be someone bigger, brighter, richer and “better” than you and that’s okay. We all have different skills and strengths, so ask your friends and family to tell you what makes you unique and special. There is no one else in the world quite like you and that’s genuinely worth celebrating.
Move away from perfectionism
If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome, you’re probably an overachiever and highly motivated to succeed. This combination can push you towards perfectionism, and may result in you giving yourself a hard time if you miss the mark.
Start to remind yourself that you DON’T have to be perfect, because let’s face it, being perfect isn’t a realistic goal. Any action – including messy action – is better than staying stuck on the start line.
If you stopped every time you experienced failure, or encountered a setback, you wouldn’t ever move forward. If you want things to change you have to be prepared to make mistakes.
Mistakes are a normal part of learning and every setback teaches you something you didn’t know before. When you see setbacks as learning curves rather than outright failures, it’s much easier to pick yourself up and carry on. Failure just lets you know that you don’t know how to do it… yet.
Be kind to yourself
Self-compassion is one of the most effective ways to stop Impostor Syndrome. You need to understand that your critical inner voice isn’t helpful to you and replacing it with a kinder, more forgiving one leads you to being more hopeful and motivated.
Showing yourself compassion helps you to recognise you’re only human and you don’t have to be perfect. Being kind to yourself stops the nagging imposter voice and makes it easier to achieve your goals.
It’s time to change how you feel in midlife – starting TODAY