How to deal with imposter syndrome

Do you honestly believe your successes are about luck, and your failings all come down to you? Do you wonder when the fraud police will kick down the door and drag you from your desk?

If your answer is ‘yes’: hello, and welcome to the imposter’s syndrome’ club.

In the blog post, we will be coving what imposter syndrome is, how it occurs, and what you can do to combat it.

What is it?

The way I describe imposter syndrome is a nagging doubt that you feel that you have not earned your accomplishments. 

Impostor syndrome tends to be more common in those who are high achievers — they can’t entirely accept their achievements.

The good news is that everyone will become a member of the imposter syndrome club at some stage. 

It occurs as we begin to move out of our comfort zones to achieve a new goal or a higher level of success.

So why does it happen?

Well, we are human, and our brains like to keep us safe. That’s it. 

It’s a belief of what I am and what I’m capable of, and what my value is as a human being in some cases. 

As our accomplishments expand beyond our comfort zones and outside of our beliefs of what is possible. We begin to experience internal doubt and conflict. 

People experience impostor syndrome in varying ways, but some common signs are:

  • Perfectionism — not recognising a success because you can only focus on the flaws.

  • Overworking — can also be connected with perfectionism, as well as a way of avoiding finishing a project or product that will be judged by others.

  • Undermining your achievements — pointing out your mistakes before taking ownership of success, procrastinating and leaving things to the last minute, and then having to rush to finish

  • Fear of failure — putting off starting something, avoiding taking on new challenges and reluctance to ask for feedback as you can’t face potentially failing

  • Discounting praise — pointing out other people’s contributions before your own, assuming recognition given is faked or exaggerated

Imposter Syndrome can affect all people in all aspects of life, but most of the research into impostor syndrome has focused on the experience concerning work and study.

With my clients, I see it mostly occur in two different stages: 

1. Is when they are embarking on a new phase or journey in their business or life. 

2. After a big win or accomplishment in life or business. E.g. you’ve just smashed that massive revenue goal or made a substantial positive impact on a group of people. No sooner is it achieved that the fears and doubts about its legitimacy set in. 

Fears of fraudulence like this are widespread, and in fact, Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein have been quoted as dealing with imposter syndrome.

So why are so many of us unable to shake feelings that we have not earned our accomplishments?

Impostor syndrome is a universal human feeling or occurrence. It’s not a disease or an abnormality; it’s pretty standard. It’s not tied to depression, anxiety or self-esteem. It is often a stand-alone feeling that we experience. 

We think that our ideas, skills and achievements are not worthy of others attention, and we tend to have an unwarranted sense of insecurity.  

Often highly accomplished people assume that others are also, which then causes them to spiral into feelings of unworthiness or not deserving their successes or opportunities.

Another reason we as human beings experience imposter syndrome is that having no threshold of accomplishment means that these feelings cannot be put to rest. 

The sky is the limit when it comes to human potential. You can keep going because there is no finish line. As such, we cannot necessarily know when we have won. 

After a significant success, it’s sometimes only a matter of days, weeks or months before we desire more. Which raises the question, are we worthy of that? Do we believe we deserve more internally?

The impact of imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome can prevent people from future success. I see my clients having to question these doubts and fears and why they are arising. 

The impact of not dealing with them is that we begin to take unconscious actions that keep us playing small. We start pulling back on the reins of our lives and businesses. We begin to limit our success in the hope that the fears and doubts will go. They don’t. They replaced with other worries and emotions such as frustration, resentment or even guilt. 

The best way to combat or neutralise imposter syndrome is to talk about it. The reason people don’t talk about these feelings is that they are afraid that their fears of not being enough or worthy will be confirmed. 

How best to relieve your imposter syndrome.

  1. Collect positive example and feedback. Why? Because it gives your brain facts and helps to keep the internal voice of doubt and fear at bay.

  2. Realise that you create your reality. If you are achieving amazing results or new opportunities are coming your way then pat yourself on the back. You have done the work necessary to attract this. Own it.

  3. Get to the root cause of how and why problems are occurring for you. Issues and challenges are a fact of life. They occur for everyone differently, so it’s essential to understand how and why they are coming up for you rather than blaming yourself for them.

  4. Acceptance: Imposter syndrome impacts everyone and shows up differently for everyone. By accepting imposter syndrome will occur at some stage, you enable yourself to keep moving forward. When the feelings and emotions do arise, you can label them for what they are just fears and emotions — not truths.

  5. Get outside help. I am a massive fan of this one because I know how much getting outside help helped me, and I see how much it helps my amazing clients. An outside perspective bypasses thoughts, feelings and emotions regarding the situation. It gives your intellect something different to work on and dissect, which opens you to new possibilities.

I’ll leave you with this.

You are worthy, you have talents and unique gifts, you are capable, and you belong. 

Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from going after what you want. 

Want me dedicated to your success?

I help my clients step into their version of extraordinary every day. Let’s have a chat. Book a call with me HERE