Have you ever felt like a fake, even do your considered an expert in a certain area? Or you know more far more about the chosen thing than your target market? Or you have operated a successful business for a long time but you still can never shake this feeling?
If you answer yes to any of the above then its likely you suffer from impostor syndrome
Impostor syndrome is the feeling that you’re a ‘fraud’ and will be found out. Despite the evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and that they don’t deserve the success that they have or achieve.
This isn’t one of them modern made up things formed as an excuse for inaction but is actually a term coined by two clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, in 1978.
Often times any proof of success is dismissed as luck, or timing or of deceiving others into thinking they are more successful or competent than they are.
Impostor syndrome can impact anyone no matter how successful, how much you have made, awards you have earned or even degrees you have received. It may be a rational response if you were selling snake oil or your Donnie Brasco!
There is so many people who suffer but most don’t realise that its a condition that affects a substantial part of the world, especially those that are quite intelligent where they can see that the more they learn the more they actually don’t know.
You generally feel that others are more successful or qualified than you and that every time you succeed you don’t feel you can do it again.
Believe me most of the world doesn’t have all the answers this includes presidents who often make mistakes, football coaches who often don’t get a play right, CEO’s who make wrong decisions and have to coarse correct. The list is endless all you need to do is realise that you are far better than you think you are.
Albert Einstein who once said towards the end of his life,
“the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”
Other recognised people it has affected is; Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), Emma Watson (Actress), Ed Whitcare (Former CEO of GM), Neil Gaiman (best selling Writer), Chuck Lorre (Screenwriter), Kate Winslet (Actress), Tina Fey (Actress), Tom Hanks (Actor) and so on.
8 Ways that you can overcome Impostor Syndrome;
1. Seek Guidance
Speak to a trusted friend, mentor or coach. Now that you realise that this is such a widespread syndrome that you will have more confidence to talk through it with others.
2. Store Positive Things People Have Said About You And Your work
This starts with being able to accept a complement that someone gives you. You need to internalise this and really feel it and believe it when you give it to you.
You also want to create a folder with all the nice things that people have said about you and how you have helped them on their journey. This can be anything from a testimonial they gave,screenshot a nice comment they left, even write down what a person said and keep it in a journal.
Collect all these ‘anti-fraud feeling’ resources and revisit them often and more regularly when you are feeling like a fraud or your going to be ‘found out’.
3. Just Knowing About It
Knowing about ‘impostor syndrome,’ even just realising it exists means it has less power over you.
4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
I would bet that, the person who you compare yourself with either suffers from the same condition but are just pushing through it or has suffered from it in the past but they have learn’t to handle it.
When you compare yourself to others its easy to fall into the trap of believing that they are far more of an expert than you. I have found myself believing this in the past until I started to explore behind the scenes of those that I compared myself to and I realise I actually know far more than them or at the very least as much as them, but they were willing to put themselves out there. I wasted far too much time believing I wasn’t ready yet. I hope you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
5. Realise That By Now Overcoming This The World Is Suffering
You could have the information in your head or the skills to help that person make an extra six figures this year which would change their life, you might guide a person to cut back on their sugar habit to prevent diabetes and an early death.
You may just put something out there or do something that inspires one other person. that in itself makes it worth it.
You owe it to these people who you havin’t even met yet.
As always most issues in our mind fall away when we take action. You will notice that the more action you take the less you even think about impostor syndrome and you prove to yourself that you are in fact an expert.
7. Realise Nobody Knows What They Are Doing
Nobody knows what they are doing all of the time. People make mistakes and mess things up all the time. The world you live in, is the result of people trying many things and a fraction of the things worked out. All ‘experts’ started out as a non-expert, it was only after practicing their knowledge in the real world that they started to over come impostor syndrome.
Bonus; 8. Fake It Till You Make It
Often times you need to first fake things before you make it. We all know the classic scenario, you want a job but they require 2 years experience but you can’t get that experience without first getting the job. Catch 22.
Often the best way to overcome this is to fake it till you make it. For example. if you were looking for a job in a bar but had no idea what you were doing or how to make cocktails. You could pretend that you did, and then burst your ass to figure out how. Certain areas this might not work as well in like a Doctor or Pilot! From here you have to trust in yourself to figure it out, because when the pressure is on you will.
What are you avoiding because of Impostor Syndrome? Implement just one of these steps now, and go do that thing…