Does this sound familiar?
♥ You constantly downplay your skills and achievements
♥ You’re reluctant to celebrate anything you’ve achieved because you think others helped you there or you got there by deception
♥ You think of others as inherently more qualified or in the know than you.
♥ You’re more likely to go for something you’re overqualified for than underqualified
♥ You’re afraid of being found out as a fraud or phoney or that people will discover you don’t know as much as they think you do
♥ You constantly compare yourself to others
♥ You hold yourself to a higher standard than you hold others
Don’t put yourself in a psychological prison (images in this post were taken at Emma Louise shop in East Grinstead)
If you’re nodding along right now, you may well be suffering from Impostor Syndrome, a term coined in the late seventies to describe people who can’t internalise their objective skills and achievements – or who put any evidence that they are worthy of their accomplishments down to luck or help from others.
According to many psychologists, Impostor Syndrome affects high-achieving women more than any other demographic. Some psychologists go so far as to suggest that generally men tend to blame external factors for any failures, while women will blame their own inadequacies. And, ironically, Impostor Syndrome tends not to afflict those who are genuinely incompetent or undeserving, but high achievers who are holding themselves to impossible standards.
You don’t have to be perfect to be great at what you do
While I’m a big advocate of striving to better oneself (if I could spend my lifetime studying subject after subject I probably would) I am also concerned at the number of talented, inspiring people who, despite being so amazing, constantly doubt their own abilities. We’re all works in progress, and perfection isn’t a real thing – so stop looking at others and imagining they have a perfect internal process that you don’t have. Nobody does.
A straw poll of my Facebook friend showed that the majority of people who I personally know and admire feel this way – and I’m not immune either. I struggle enormously to celebrate big achievements because I always find a reason why what I’ve achieved isn’t good enough, or isn’t what it seems, or was achieved by luck or chance.
So for all of you out there who erroneously believe you’re not good enough, I want you to stop and really think about everything you’ve achieved in your lifetime. Write down your achievements, and then try to imagine that you’re looking at someone else’s life story or CV. I bet you’d be pretty impressed if someone else was the brains behind everything you’ve done. And then every time you start to make an excuse, like “well, I had financial help with this” or “but it only looks like this on paper, in reality it’s this” I want you to remind yourself that a.) most of the people who have inspired you probably feel like that and b.) that someone who wasn’t capable, smart and competent couldn’t have turned those advantages into a success story.
It’s time to start bigging ourselves up – if not to the rest of the world, then to ourselves. No more fear of being found out as an impostor – you’re exactly who you say you are. who’s with me?