Isn’t it just the worst? An epic opportunity comes along, you’re excited for 0.3 seconds and suddenly, that icky feeling sets in in the pit of your stomach. All your confidence dissolves to nothing, and you’re left clamming up at the thought of everyone finding out you’re a fraud. Welcome to imposter syndrome.
What Actually Is Imposter Syndrome?
Let’s tackle the beast. Psychologists say it’s all based around chronic self-doubt despite external evidence of your competencies. It’s a disconnect between your perception of what you know versus what others know.
You might feel like you’re out of your depth at work, or that you’ve only been offered an opportunity because someone’s misunderstood your skillset. You may even experience fleeting feelings of fear about being ‘outed’ as a fraudster.
Nodding along? Don’t worry. Even Seth Godin says he still feels like a fraud despite being the source of motivation for millions of people.
You’re Not Alone
It’s estimated that as many as 70% of us will experience imposter syndrome at some point. Oh to be in that magical 30% who know not of the mind games of inadequacy and rock-bottom confidence.
Practical Ways to Ditch Imposter Syndrome
Prove yourself wrong
If you’re an analytical person, you’ll probably respond well to evidence-based thinking. Collate your achievements and keep a running file of things that prove you’re good at what you do. Got good feedback from your boss? Achieved a target at work? Been proud of something you’ve created? Put it in the file and refer back to it when you’re feeling like someone’s put Mr Bean in charge of the Monday meeting.
Sit with the feeling
Sometimes just acknowledging that what you’re feeling is a construct of your imagination can help you think more rationally. Let the icky feeling flood in, sit in the discomfort, and then breathe it out. Box breathing to an in-for-4-hold-for-4-out-for-4-hold-for-4 pattern can help wash imposter syndrome away.
Talk it out
While imposter syndrome does live in your irrational brain, sometimes external input can help. Some employees require more direct feedback than others, so if you’re feeling inadequate at work, chat to your boss about it. While I’m not suggesting you ask for a little head pat every time you do something right, asking for a little more contact time might have you feeling more confident.
Cut off your triggers
Oftentimes imposter syndrome has clear triggers. A specific person we compare ourselves to, a social media page we read that has us feeling all kinds of dumb… cutting yourself off at the source can help make imposter syndrome a less frequent visitor.
Now you know how to rid yourself of imposter syndrome, read our top tips on scoring a promotion by your next performance review.
Emma is a finance blogger at The Broke Generation and a reformed spendaholic. Emma shares hot tips on saving, property, tax, career and investing for millennials who want to break the spending cycle and get on top of their money. Oh, and she’s a chronic sufferer of imposter syndrome! Oh, the irony.
Image Credit: Lucas Ottone