3 Game-Changing ways to Overcome Feelings of Imposter Syndrome to Enhance Self-BeliefNov 06, 2021
In my work as a performance coach for entrepreneurs, I am regularly puzzled at the degree to which remarkably accomplished people feel inferior, talk down their success and doubt their abilities, even though there is cold hard tangible evidence to the contrary.
Feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt tend to emerge predominantly during transition periods in a career or business. Transitions such as accepting a promotion, a performance review, starting or scaling your business and generally when you are at the edge of your comfort zone.
The belief that you will be exposed as a fraud and won't live up to expectations is known as imposter syndrome. And no amount of experience, knowledge or track record seems to make a difference when you are caught in that internalized and often uncomfortable belief.
It's essential to know that Psychological research suggests that we are not very good at evaluating our skills accurately, either drastically over/underestimating them or having an illusion of superiority or inferiority. It's helpful to know what it feels like so that you can recognise what's going on and take steps to feel better!
Imposter syndrome can feel deeply uncomfortable. That mean 'inner critic' voice is creating lots of false stories that make you feel like you want to shirk and hide.
You can become conscious of these stories through mindful journalling. Grab a pen and paper and allow the mind drama to unfold onto the page. Mindful journaling is helpful because what we resist persists so getting the thoughts out onto paper allows you to evaluate it objectively. Then journal on these questions: Can I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is true? The answer is nearly always no.
Understanding that thoughts and emotions are visitors helps let them come and go. I try to frame these thoughts as 'Negative Protectors'. Our primitive ancestors owe their very existence to the 'Be careful!' thoughts. Mindfulness practice helps you live with your thoughts without reacting or believing them.
Imposter syndrome can feel like you are “just lucky” that you have achieved what you did and that you were just in the right place at the right time.
Overcoming this feeling is can be eased by actively boosting your self-trust so that you doubt yourself and your achievements less. From the KPMG Women's leadership summit report, it was noted that Nearly half (47%) of executive women say that their feelings of self-doubt result from never expecting to reach the level of success they have achieved.
Increasing self-trust can be achieved through adding self-validation practices to your daily routines. You can actively and consciously validate yourself daily by first documenting your past and current successes, what you did and who you had to be to get where you are today. It's not a fluke. It is hard work, grit and determination.
Turn those successes into affirmations that you say to yourself every day upon waking. For best results create a voice memo of your affirmations on your phone and listen each morning within the first 30 minutes of waking. At this time your brain is in the state between wakefulness and sleep (known as theta). This is when you can most powerfully influence your unconscious mind, manifest changes, access profound learning.
Imposter syndrome can feel like you are alone. But the reality is that most people experience IS at some point in their lives. From the same KPMG report, women mentioned that to overcome imposter syndrome, 72% of executive women looked to the advice of a mentor or someone when doubting their abilities.
So it is clear that if you share your feelings with someone you trust it will lighten them. Actively seek out a coach, mentor or confide in a supportive manager or colleague who can reflect you the reality of how capable and excellent you are at what you do and who's honest feedback you value.