Imposter Syndrome Matters
You’ve probably heard the term imposter syndrome a few times throughout the course of your career so far. You may have wondered what it is and why is it so important for us to know about it? This is especially important if you’re a woman.
Imposter syndrome is when you have collection of feelings where you feel like a failure, a fraud and inadequate despite your achievements. This syndrome, first identified by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, is likely to affect high achievers, successful people, those who have tendency to be perfectionists and believe it or not, more women than men. The root cause of it is that the person is just not able to internalise their accomplishments. Unfortunately, with its greater impact on women, this can not only become a major obstacle in career progression but also for those looking to start their own business, stopping them in their tracks!
What are the signs of imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome can present itself in various ways however the main form will be the belief that what you have achieved so far has been down to luck, timing, or being considered better than you think you are by others or external factors. The thoughts and feelings someone experiencing imposter syndrome could have are:
- You’re a failure
- You’re a fake
- Your success was not down to you, you got lucky
For someone experiencing imposter syndrome, it brings with it huge amounts of pressure not to be ‘found out’ and as a result they will not enjoy the success and also find it hard to accept compliments. At other times they will have a tendency to downplay their success, feeling the achievements they made were just easy to accomplish.
If you feel you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, what can you do?
Recognise why you’re feeling this way- Have your feelings come about because you are the youngest amongst your colleagues, or maybe one of few women in your field? When you are an outsider it can be easy to feel you don’t belong or that you don’t deserve the position. Remind yourself, age and gender are not related to your ability to do something at a high level!
Identify when you’re feeling like this– Be aware of when these imposter thoughts come up. A great way to identify this is to keep a tracker of what these thoughts are and when and why they appear.
Separate feelings from fact- It’s important to recognise just because you may be feeling a certain way, whether that’s being a failure or fraud, doesn’t mean you are this. Your feelings can be deceptive and this is where understanding what is fact over feelings is crucial.
Attribute your success to yourself- Instead of thinking your success is because of other reasons or luck, understand how you contributed to the success and all the things you did to achieve this. When you start doing this and also ACCEPTING this, you’ll realise you played a much bigger part in the achievement than you think. When self-doubt starts to kick in remind yourself of this, remember your strengths and also the positive things people have said about you.
Reframe your thinking– Rather than seeing failure as a bad thing, see it as an opportunity to learn and as a lesson to better your future. Instead of feeling you or the work you do has to be perfect, appreciate it’s okay to make mistakes at times or to not know everything and instead of thinking you have to be the best, understand that it is giving your best that counts.
Stay focused on what matters– Rather than telling yourself things like you will be found out, visualise the success you want in your work and stay focussed on the work you need to do.
Be kind to yourself– Speak to others about your feelings and seek assistance if you need help or with the things you don’t enjoy.
As a life and career coach for women, I work with women who are looking to make meaningful changes in their life, career or business. With the right support, coaching techniques and strategies you can overcome hurdles relating to mindset, confidence and external circumstances to create positive changes in your life.
The mission at Inher Potential is empowerment, to bring the best out in ourselves, others and challenging the beliefs that have held women back.
If you would like to find out more about how you could positively change your life through coaching get in touch- firstname.lastname@example.org