Imposter Syndrome is a common phenomenon we all experience at some point in our lives. It is associated with feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, and inadequacy. These feelings arise from our self-perceptions-what we believe about ourselves.
Our self-perceptions are in turn influenced by our immediate environment. For instance, If you experienced verbal abuse as a child, it can affect how you see yourself. In most cases, this experience can lead to Imposter Syndrome.
Nevertheless, Imposter Syndrome can be a powerful tool that contributes to your success. That is, you can use the feelings of Imposter syndrome to your advantage. But the question to answer is, “How can my self-doubt become a tool for my success? Keep reading to find out.
5 Common Lies That Reinforce Imposter Syndrome
Studies have shown that about one-third of young people suffer from imposter syndrome. A similar study revealed that 70% of people in the country are likely to be acquainted at some point in their lives.
You would be shocked to also know that very successful people like Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein, add up to this estimate.
“The exaggerated esteem in which my life work is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an Involuntary swindler” – Albert Einstein
In a nutshell, the feelings of an imposter are not unique to you. Over time, that feeling of unworthiness is reinforced by our past experiences. These experiences and lies we’ve come to believe over time. So in this section, we’ll debunk some common lies that validate the feelings of self-doubt.
Lie #1-Mistakes are for Amateurs
Get this; Even the most accomplished people have room for improvement. What this tells you is that mistakes are a part of the learning process, and It’s how we grow. It should never be interpreted as a sign of inefficiency. Mistakes happen so we can learn from them and adjust.
Lie #2 Being a beginner is as good as being incompetent
Being a beginner at something does not necessarily mean you don’t deserve to be in the room. It just means you have to be willing to show up, learn, and take action.
Lie #3 You need more experience to get started
Experience indeed helps you get ahead. But the truth is you might never have all the experience required to get started. But you’ve got to start anyway.
Lie #4 Perfectionism
The idea that we have to be 100% perfect in everything reinforces the feelings of inadequacy. Especially because the pursuit of perfection is far-fetched.
Embracing imperfection allows for growth, resilience, and more authentic self-expression.
Lie #5 Not acknowledging your wins is the same as being Modest
This is a very common one. In the name of being modest, we quickly shrug off our small and big successes. There’s nothing wrong with being modest. But when it becomes an excuse to discredit your abilities and obvious wins, then it is hurtful.
Why don’t you feel like an Imposter while watching your favorite Netflix series? Or when you’re doing other fun and less important stuff. Something to think about right?
But you can trust that annoying voice to pop into your head when something good happens. Might be when you just got assigned to a big project or got promoted, or you’re trying to apply to a new role.
If you notice, in each scenario, there’s the need to step out of your comfort zone. And the “uncomfortable” situations have the potential to bring you a lot of success.
By that token, it becomes clear that the feelings of impostor syndrome are a signal of change and growth. An interesting and science-backed way to flip the script is to embrace the feelings of imposter syndrome. If you think about it, the presence of these feelings points to the fact that you’re trying new things.
5 Research-Backed Tips to Deal with Imposter Syndrome
Based on research, there are simple ways to deal with impostor syndrome. In this section, we’ll talk about practical ways to escape the self-massacre of imposter syndrome.
1. Practice Mindfulness
When self-doubt creeps in, you need to take the upper hand. To have an upper hand, here’s what you should do; Take a deep breath. Now, consider this; If they gave you the role, it means they trust you enough to deliver. And guess what? That happened only because you’ve been killing it.
2. Give yourself some credit
Give yourself more credit for all that you are and all you have been able to accomplish. Even as a beginner, taking the steps towards growth is worth celebrating.
3. Take action
The easiest way to build confidence in yourself is to start taking action. The action here is showing up to do what is needed to become the person you want to be. Every action, every trial, failure, and win, helps you to build competence.
4. Cognitive restructuring
Cognitive restructuring is a powerful technique rooted in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Here’s how it works; Identify and catch those thoughts that make you feel like an imposter. Thoughts like” I got lucky” and ” I’m not qualified for this”, and so on.
Now, consider the evidence that contradicts these negative thoughts. For instance, if you feel your success is due to luck, challenge this by acknowledging your skills and successes. Even if you’re still learning the ropes, acknowledge the fact that you’re taking the needed action.
Developing a growth mindset will help you learn from your mistakes rather than beat yourself up about them. It’s important to understand that your failures or mistakes present an opportunity to grow.
The feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome tend to stick around when you can’t get past the “thinking” phase. The moment you start taking action despite your feelings, you explode the syndrome.
What you’re doing in that moment, is proving to yourself through actions that you know what you’re doing. If you don’t have the required experience that’s okay. What can you do to have one? Start upskilling, practice, and keep learning.
Truth be told, you’ll never stop feeling like an imposter until you push through the clench and self-doubts. And how do you do that? By taking action.
However, it’s important to understand that overcoming Imposter Syndrome is a gradual process. As you practice mindfulness, take action, and celebrate your wins, you’ll realize the truth: You’re not an imposter. You’re human, learning and growing on the path to becoming the person you want to be.
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