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Imposter Syndrome: The Not-So-Hidden Reason For Your Self-Doubt

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Have you ever thought as though you didn't belong or that everyone would discover that you didn't deserve your accomplishments?

If you identify with those feelings of chronic self-doubt, you have almost certainly dealt with imposter syndrome.

You are not alone; research indicates that approximately 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point during their careers.

Imposter syndrome, in general, is caused by a high level of self-doubt. Rather than crediting your success to your abilities, you may downplay it and attribute it to luck.

Imposter Syndrome Symptoms

Are any of these patterns familiar to you?

  • Perfectionism. You may set lofty objectives for yourself. Because perfection is your goal, even the most trivial errors can make you feel like a failure.

  • Assign success to chance. You minimize your success because you believe you do not deserve it or that you are simply fortunate.

  • Incapable of recognizing success. Rather than celebrating your accomplishments, you are concerned that others will discover "the truth" about your abilities and skills.

  • Apprehension of failure. You may set challenging goals out of fear of failure and then be disappointed when those goals fail. Additionally, you may take on limited tasks out of fear of failure.

  • Difficulty soliciting assistance. You may have difficulty asking for help because you believe that doing so will demonstrate that you are unskilled or unqualified.

Imposter syndrome can make you fearful of pursuing new opportunities because you believe you do not deserve them. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to begin giving yourself more credit and overcoming your self-doubt.

Imposter Syndrome: How to Overcome It

1. Recognize imposter feelings.

Recognize when you begin to feel as if you are an imposter. Rather than engaging with your self-doubt thoughts, acknowledge that they are a natural response.

2. Recognize the source of the problem.

  • Why do you believe that you are unwelcome?

  • Is it a fear of failure that motivates you?

  • Do you think that you are unworthy of success?

3. Concentrate on facts rather than emotions.

When you begin to feel like an imposter, focus on the positive. For instance, you may have been selected for a job interview based on your qualifications.

4. Determine whether the thought is serving you or detrimental to you.

  • Is feeling fraudulent beneficial or harmful to you?

  • Is that the type of person you wish to be?

  • What kind of person do you aspire to be?

5. Reframe your perceptions.

Rather than telling yourself that you are unworthy of success, reframe your thinking to give yourself more credit and enjoy the experience.

  • Take ownership of your accomplishments rather than attributing them to "fortune" or "assistance from others."

  • Rather than setting impossibly high standards, set manageable goals that allow you to enjoy the process.

  • Remind yourself that the "ideal time" will never come.

  • Accept that we must all begin somewhere.

6. Recognize that it is acceptable to make errors.

Rather than fearing failure, cultivate a healthy response to mistakes. Accept that making gaffes is natural and instead learn from each one.

7. Seek assistance.

Having a secure space to receive support will assist you in reducing feelings of imposter syndrome. When you experience inadequacy, make a mistake, or receive a compliment, your initial reaction may be to withdraw. Rather than that, begin reaching out for assistance to a trusted life coach, for example.

  • Express gratitude when you receive a compliment.

  • Experiment with being candid when you're feeling insecure, embarrassed, or have made a mistake.

  • Share and honour your accomplishments and victories.

Imposter syndrome can make you feel insufficient, unfit, or undeserving. However, it's critical to remember that growing and making mistakes does not make you a fraud; they make you human.

Rather than doubting yourself, follow the steps outlined above to increase your self-esteem and self-worth.

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