Have you ever felt like a fraud in your own life? No matter how much success you’ve achieved and amount of credentials you have, there’s still a nagging voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough and it’s too good to be true?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then welcome to the world of imposter syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that affects several individuals, often without them even realizing it.
Imposter Syndrome Unveiled
Imposter syndrome can be characterized by feelings of self-doubt, incompetence, and an ongoing fear of being exposed as a fraud and being not as capable as others perceive them to be. It feels like a shadow that haunts us everywhere we go, casting doubt on our accomplishments and abilities.
Personally, I’ve experienced it firsthand in my career as a recreational and non-traditional occupational therapist – especially when I dove into medical content writing and designing biophilic healing spaces. Despite obtaining both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree and working in a field I’m passionate about, there have been moments when I would ask myself, “Do I really know what I’m doing?” – leading me to doubt my qualifications, thinking I was just lucky to be where I was.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s about a lack of confidence, not competence because no matter how much self-confidence and training you may have, there will be times that self-doubt manages to creep into your mind.
It’s crucial to understand that imposter syndrome is not a reflection of your competence. In fact, there are many high-achievers who suffer from it. Here are a few examples of what imposter syndrome can look like:
The Perfectionist: This person sets impossibly high standards for themselves, feeling like a failure if they don’t meet every expectation. They attribute success to external factors and dismiss their own hard work.
The Expert: Constantly seeking more knowledge and certifications, the expert never feels they know enough because there is always someone more knowledgeable than they are. They worry about being exposed as a fraud, despite their extensive expertise.
The Soloist: Prefers to work alone and avoids collaboration in group settings because they fear being “found out” or feels projects won’t get done correctly unless they do it themselves to prove their worth.
The Natural Genius: This individual expects tasks to come effortlessly. If they struggle or need to work hard, they feel like a phony, believing they should excel without effort.
The Superhero: Taking on an excessive workload and pushing themselves to the limit, the superhero believes they must achieve at every level. In their eyes, more responsibility equates to more success. They neglect self-care and risk burnout to maintain their facade.
The Professional Academia: Forever taking classes, earning degrees and yet never having enough knowledge. This person often will remain as a student and avoid sharing the learnings in a job setting.
Imposter syndrome is closely linked to fear due to the fear of being exposed as a fraud, of not living up to expectations, or of being rejected for who you really are. This fear can manifest as phobias or anxieties related to your work, relationships, or self-worth.
For example, if you are afraid of public speaking due to imposter syndrome, you might experience glossophobia—a phobia of public speaking. Or, if you constantly worry about being “found out” in your workplace, you might develop social anxiety.
Understanding this connection between imposter syndrome and fear is the first step toward overcoming it. Since we’ve unveiled some of the different faces of imposter syndrome, let’s explore five practical tips to help you conquer imposter syndrome and regain your self-confidence.
5 Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
First things first, acknowledge your feelings and recognize that imposter syndrome is a common experience that many high-achievers share these feelings. By acknowledging your emotions, you can begin to separate your self-worth from your achievements.
Be sure to talk about it and share your feelings with friends you trust, family members, or even a therapist. Oftentimes, expressing your fears outloud can help you gain perspective and receive reassurance and valuable support.
Keep a success journal and document your achievements and accomplishments, no matter how small they seem. When you doubt yourself, revisit your journal to remind yourself of your competence. I personally enjoy doing this and have always kept emails, screenshots, letters, and reviews from patients I treated and worked with. Reading their positive feedback and results reminds me of the significant impact I’ve made in their lives at one point or another.
Challenge the negative thoughts when those self-doubting thoughts creep in, challenge them with evidence of your accomplishments and capabilities. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations.
Embrace opportunities for growth and learning. Understand that no one knows everything and everyone makes mistakes. Afterall, we’re human! Be kind to yourself and remember, you don’t have to be perfect to be successful.
Just do it: The longer the avoidance, the greater the fear. But, once you’ve put yourself out there and made that first step, you will find it’s not as hard as it seemed in your mind. Start with small steps and celebrate the wins. We often will dwell on the challenges and negative outcomes but will brush over the successes. However, when we stop, acknowledge and celebrate our wins, the fears diminish much more rapidly.
With practice and self-compassion, you can learn to manage imposter syndrome and regain your self-confidence. Embrace your achievements, believe in your abilities, and remember that you are not alone in your journey to overcome imposter syndrome and the fear that often accompanies it.
At Self Empowered Minds, we always support and encourage self-growth and professional achievements. We are proud to foster an environment for empowering individuals to unlock their full potential and become the best version of themselves.
If you’d like to learn effective strategies to stay motivated and achieve positive thinking, Hypnosis in NYC. Want to balance and recharge your mind and body, come see us and treat yourself to relaxing Reiki sessions. And, to continue practicing self-love, learn how to meditate at Self Empowered Minds. Self Empowered Minds is here to help you strengthen your mind, empower the positive beliefs you have, and help rebuild new patterns in the brain to support healthier habits. Our services support you in the best way possible so you may fill your life to the brim with love, happiness, family, friends, health, wealth, gratitude, and joy.