Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
by Daryl Daughtry, Publisher
Have you ever felt inadequate or insecure despite having achieved certain levels of success? If so, you’re not alone. It could be due to something called Imposter Syndrome. This constraining mindset often stems from things like…
• Setting very high expectations that become overwhelming.
• Stressful past experiences like bullying or unreasonable parental pressure.
• Constantly fearing failure based on doubting your choice-making ability
• Holding perfectionism as your normal standard of living life.
Understanding Imposter Syndrome
Do you ever feel like a fraud, even though you have enjoyed various achievements in life? This is probably the most recognized state of mind related to Imposter Syndrome. It doesn’t matter who you are or how educated – everyone can experience it. This phenomenon was first identified back in the 1970s during studies of women’s experiences in their respective fields. Since then, additional research has suggested that males also face similar feelings of inadequacy, regardless of their background or job title. The most common symptoms they discovered include:
• The fear of being considered to be a failure or a loser.
• Thinking luck or chance caused your successes and downplaying them.
• Equating overworking to be the only path towards personal achievement.
• Feeling underserving of attention or affection from others.
• Holding yourself back from pursuing your potential due to insecurity.
These symptoms are brought about by low self-esteem that doubts one’s capabilities, accomplishments, and acquired knowledge. They ignore personal wins altogether and wrongly attempt comparisons with seemingly more successful people, which only makes matters worse.
There are many external triggers that heighten these inner feelings such as negative criticism, difficulty finding a job, awkwardness in relationships, etc. Combined together they create an obstacle course full of low expectations and unmet goals.
The Impact of Self-Doubt on Personal Growth
Imposter Syndrome can have a serious impact on personal growth due to this constant self-doubt. You always question your capabilities or believe that you don’t possess the necessary skills for success. Thus, it’s pretty easy to become overwhelmed by the internal disorder that restricts you from taking risks or pursuing goals essential to your fulfillment and development.
This self-doubt also encourages negative thinking such as ‘catastrophizing’, where you convince yourself that failure will occur even before you start something. You may even brush off an achievement with a comment like “I just got lucky.”
Therefore, if you’re dealing with Imposter Syndrome, it’s important to be aware of how detrimental your mental chatter can be and start replacing it with empowering affirmations that acknowledge your large and small victories along the way. Instead of ruminating over past failures and future fears, focus on the things you did right and be thankful for the opportunities that lie ahead.
Fear of Failure and Performance Anxiety
Can you relate to feeling inadequate in regard to your abilities? It’s totally normal and natural for you feel this apprehension when faced with challenging tasks. This fearfulness can be crippling for you and make you unable to fully function due to being consumed by worry over potentially failing. Your anxiety will only grow stronger because it makes you think that your attempts are pointless. So, you eventually stop taking risks and sabotage your own personal growth and development.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
You have gone through Imposter Syndrome, at some stage in your life; whether it was work-related, school-related or within personal relationships. It was a feeling of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence that lead to anxiety and stress. But fortunately, there are ways you can overcome the mental obstacles associated with Impostor Syndrome and give yourself a chance to live a more fulfilling life.
The first step is to understand the symptoms that cause you to have self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. Once you recognize these can be related to having Impostor Syndrome, it’s important to begin to deal with these thoughts and feelings. Stop giving them control over your actions. Also, consider the following:
• Separate your feelings from literal facts surrounding your situation.
• Take note of your accomplishments and celebrate small wins.
• Stop comparing yourself to other people and their accomplishments.
• Let go of perfectionism and accept that you’re an imperfect human.
• Talk to a life coach or counselor to get needed help.
Imposter Syndrome is real and it can take its toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It brings with it self-doubt, fear, uneasiness, and low self-confidence. Gratefully, there are steps you can take to climb out from underneath this burden. Take time off for introspection to identify negative thoughts or beliefs about yourself that might have been holding you back. With some determination and support along the way, conquering Imposter Syndrome will not seem as impossible to accomplish, but something that is achievable over time.