How To Beat Imposter Syndrome
New Year, New You? Here’s How to Get Rid of Your Imposter Syndrome
Around 70% of adults will experience imposter syndrome at least once in their life, according to Psychology Today. Tom Hanks, Serena Williams, Arianna Huffington and David Bowie are just some of the successful people who have publicly admitted their struggle with self-doubt and feeling like a fraud. And I’ll admit, I’m no stranger to these thoughts myself!
This time of the year is special. The excitement around new beginnings is in the air, and everyone is setting their New Year’s resolutions. People want to make a change in their lives. Starting something new can be exciting, but for some of us, it’s just scary.
Questions and doubts arise in our heads: “What if I can’t do it? Do I even deserve to succeed? Am I worthy of success? What if everyone sees how incapable I really am?” With thoughts like these, building a new you can be hard.
So, if you're trying to make a change but feel like a fraud - know that you're not alone! Keep reading to learn more about how to deal with imposter syndrome and get more confident in the process.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Despite it being called a syndrome, it’s not a condition, nor is it a diagnosis.
It’s a state of mind where a person continues to doubt themselves, even if they are already successful. They don’t believe they deserve what they’ve achieved. They fear that people will discover that they are imposters who don’t belong there. All in all, they feel much less competent than they truly are and have a distorted image of themselves in their heads.
Imposter syndrome is common among people who are high-achievers. CEOs, managers, teachers, influencers, leaders – all can struggle with self-doubt. Perfectionism and neuroticism can be some of the causes, as well as being part of a highly competitive environment.
But it doesn’t affect just people who are already high achievers. Imposter syndrome can be a big issue for someone who is just starting out in a new role or project. For example, let’s say you decide you want to get in shape. You come to the gym, but you’ve never been there before, and this is all new for you. There, you see these people who look like they know what they’re doing. They're using all these devices, drinking shakes and sweating almost professionally. You get scared and start feeling like you shouldn't be here. “You’re a fraud, and you don’t belong here. You should’ve stayed home” your brain whispers.
The same thing can happen if you’re on your first ‘real’ job out of college or if you’re starting a career in a new field. But it’s important to not give in to these thoughts.
How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome?
Well, the chances are that if you feel like a fraud, you probably aren’t. But if that was so easy to believe, you wouldn’t have this problem.
Your brain means you well, but sometimes it goes overboard with its attempts to protect you. So, what can you do?
- Learn how to set apart feelings from facts. We all feel stupid or incompetent at times. I think it’s perfectly normal! But just because we feel a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s objectively true. I might say something dumb, but it doesn’t automatically mean I’m generally daft. Getting to the root of why you’re feeling so inadequate is an important step to permanently heal your confidence. Hypnotherapy can be a great way to probe your unconscious mind for an answer.
- Maybe your feelings of inadequacy aren’t here because of your ineptness but because you genuinely feel like you don’t fit in. If you’re the only woman in a meeting, the first in your family to go to college or the first person with a disability in your company, it’s normal to have these feelings. Just like with the gym example, the feelings are there, but it has nothing to do with your capabilities. You just have to give yourself time to learn. Understanding this difference can help tame your thoughts.
- Comparison can be a dangerous trap with this one. Put your focus on yourself and your own achievements. Notice how you’ve grown over the years and how your skills evolved. Check if your brain thinks about your abilities the same way it did, say, 3 years ago. If so, well, then it’s obviously stuck in the past and is out of touch with reality. Stay away from comparing your life's journey with other people’s. Your path is your own. Some people have it easier, and some have it harder. Either way, it has nothing to do with you and your own path.
- Work on your self-talk. Counter the usual doubts with something like: “It’s normal to feel this way in this situation” or “It’s okay to make mistakes. I don’t have to be perfect to be valuable and capable.” Be mindful about how you think about yourself. When you start berating yourself, change the flow of your thoughts. Learn to be your own best supporter!
Develop the Confidence to Become the Best Version of Yourself
Start by taking small steps.
Celebrate your wins, even if they're small. Pay attention to how much you’ve learned. Instead of thinking about how everyone is better than you, try thinking about how much you can learn from them.
Ask for feedback from people who love you. Don’t dismiss the positive feedback you get. Instead, open up to the possibility that maybe they’re right.
After following these steps, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you let yourself be great.
If you feel like you could use some guidance, feel free to contact me via email or a scheduled call. Jumpstart this journey and regain your confidence with the help of a certified hypnotherapist.