These are some of the things you might tell yourself if you suffer from imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is characterised by feelings of unworthiness, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. Someone with imposter syndrome might think that they are undeserving of their accomplishments, that they have blagged their way to their position, and that eventually they will be exposed as incompetent.
Sound familiar? Well, according to a 2019 study, 77% of UK adults have suffered from imposter syndrome at some point in their lives, yet only 15% of those studied actually knew what Imposter Syndrome was (Workplace Insight).
It’s no wonder then, that imposter syndrome can be very lonely and stifling. The study shows that vast majority of us are feeling the same way but are suffering in silence, and this is part of the problem. The more that everyone around you appears to have it all figured out, the more you will begin to question whether you really belong.
In today’s landscape of influencer culture and social media advertising, the grip of imposter syndrome is only set to get tighter, as we grow more accustomed to comparing our ‘behind-the-scenes’ to everyone else’s ‘highlight reel’.
The good news is, if we start shining the light on imposter syndrome and get people talking about it, we’ll quickly realise that many of us are in the same boat. And there are ways to stop that boat from sinking before we all convince ourselves that there is an irreparable hole in it.
It's so important to stress how trivial the concept of ‘perfection’ actually is. It carries no real weight. What is perfection? To whose standards? We are all trying to measure ourselves up to something that, in reality, doesn’t exist.
To say that perfection doesn’t exist is not a bad thing. Embrace the fact that you are individual, that your ‘imperfections’ offer diversity, and that most accomplishments are born out of some kind of initial failure.
It’s good to aim high and push ourselves to an extent, but when we consistently fret over whether we are good enough, we set ourselves up for disappointment right from the get-go.
Ask yourself, what does ‘good enough’ realistically look like to you? Now, imagine that you have reached that point; Would you be satisfied, or would you find some new way to compare yourself to something ‘better’?
Imposter syndrome is a vicious cycle that comes from concentrating on your shortcomings rather than your accomplishments. Give yourself a break. Accept praise, own it, and focus your attention on the things you are doing right.
You are always growing and developing. Whether you do so in a perpetual state of anxiety, or with a confident head on your shoulders, ultimately comes down to your mindset.
Since imposter syndrome is all about feeling like you don’t measure up to everyone around you, knowing that you’re not alone can go a long way toward overcoming imposter syndrome.
If 77% of us feel like imposters from time to time, then what exactly are we imposing upon? Looking at it in this way reveals that imposter syndrome rests upon imagined ideals rather than tangible weaknesses.
Talking to a colleague or mentor is one of the best ways to work through your imposter syndrome. Not only will this interaction show you that you’re not alone, but it will also give you a chance to see your own accomplishments from an outside perspective.