by Amy Ouzoonian
Recently I had a friend come to me asking for counsel. She said that she had been feeling lots of doubt and wasn't sure if she was truly unqualified to be in her field, or if she was experiencing imposter syndrome. She believed the latter, but couldn't be sure.
Imposter syndrome can be a silent saboteur of success, affecting individuals across various stages of their careers. It's that nagging feeling of self-doubt, the fear of being exposed as a "fraud," despite evidence of success and competence. Identifying imposter syndrome is the first step toward overcoming it. Here's how to spot it and four effective strategies to put an end to the cycle. Remember, sometimes we do need to do the work, and sometimes we really are being too hard on ourselves.
Identifying Imposter Syndrome
Are you being too hard on yourself or do you truly need to brush up on your skills? Here are good ways to gauge if you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome or if you do need to hone in on your skills.
- Persistent Self-Doubt: Despite achievements, you feel unworthy of success and fear you'll be unmasked as a fraud.
- Attributing Success to External Factors: You credit luck or timing for your success, rather than your effort or abilities.
- Fear of Failure: This fear is paralyzing, leading to procrastination or over-preparation.
- Downplaying Success: You brush off accolades and feel uncomfortable discussing your achievements.
- Overworking: Feeling like you must work harder than others to prove your worth, often at the expense of your well-being.
If any of these sound like you, then read on, you will need to find ways to get out of this self-defeating way of thinking. Once identified, you can employ strategies to combat imposter syndrome.
1. Redefine Your View of Success and Failure
Reframe your understanding of success and failure. Success isn't the absence of failure but the resilience to continue despite setbacks. View each failure as a learning opportunity. This mindset shift reduces the pressure to be perfect and helps mitigate feelings of fraudulence.
2. Speak About Your Feelings
Open up about your feelings with trusted friends, mentors, or colleagues. You'll likely find that many others share similar doubts. Voicing your fears can demystify them and provide perspective. Sometimes, just knowing you're not alone in these feelings can be incredibly liberating and validating.
3. Celebrate Your Achievements
Make a conscious effort to acknowledge and celebrate your successes. Keep a record of positive feedback, milestones, and accomplishments. Reviewing this record can boost your confidence and help counteract feelings of inadequacy. Celebrating small wins builds a foundation of self-assurance and reminds you of your capabilities and achievements.
4. Seek Support
Consider professional support if imposter syndrome significantly impacts your life. Therapists or coaches specializing in this area can offer personalized strategies to overcome these feelings. They can help you identify and challenge deep-seated beliefs about your worth and competence.
Imposter syndrome is more common than you might think, affecting individuals at all levels of success. Identifying it in yourself is a crucial step toward overcoming it. By redefining success, speaking about your feelings, celebrating your achievements, and seeking support, you can break the cycle of self-doubt. Remember, it's not about never feeling like an imposter but about not letting those feelings hold you back. Let's embrace our journey with confidence and self-compassion, recognizing that we are all works in progress. To get more resources and track your own mental health, sign up to be early beta users of the MoodConnect app.