Understanding & Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

At some point in our lives we all experience a feeling of inadequacy regarding our self-worth and whether or not we are qualified enough to achieve something, especially when we are pushed outside our comfort zone or doing something for the first time. Some people feel the same despite repeated external evidence of competence. This is called Impostor Syndrome. This term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, and is marked by a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud” and an inability to internalise accomplishments.

Tips to Master Your Sense of Self-Worth

Tower Group is here to tell you that you are not alone. Millions of people including celebrities and CEO’s have been plagued by constant self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness. In this blog we offer you insights into overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

1. Start a Conversation

The first important step is to recognize that you are experiencing these feelings. Awareness is the key to bringing about a change in the way you think and act. The moment you know and say what it is, you are opening yourself to different possibilities of handling it. So start that conversation. The only surefire way to quiet your inner critic is to talk about what’s going on in your mind. Many people hesitate to share how they feel as they fear the feedback they receive from others will only confirm their concerns. However, often when people discuss their experience of feeling like they don’t belong, they learn others around them have felt the same way in the past. Learning a mentor or trusted friend has also gone through the same thing can provide clarity and relief to those with imposter syndrome. 

2. Separate Feelings from Fact

There are times you’ll feel stupid. It happens to everyone from time to time. Realise that just because you may feel stupid, doesn’t mean you are. It is okay to be wrong, to fail or to not know everything: Occasionally being wrong or not knowing everything doesn’t make you fake or non-deserving. Remind yourself that you will learn more as you progress.

3. Accentuate the Positive

Accept your success and be kind to yourself. Many of us toss off the compliments we receive for our work, and only remember the criticism. The next time someone starts to sing your praises, allow yourself to truly appreciate what is being said. Perfectionism can indicate a healthy drive to excel but do not obsess over everything being just so. Do a great job when it matters most. Forgive yourself when the inevitable mistake happens.  

4. Right the Rules

If you’ve been operating under misguided rules like, “I should always know the answer,” or “Never ask for help” start asserting your rights. Recognise that you have just as much right as the next person to be wrong, have an off-day, or ask for assistance. 

5. Fake it ‘til You Make it

Now and then we all have to fly by the seat of our pants. Instead of considering “winging it” as proof of your ineptness, learn to do what many high achievers do and view it as a skill. The point of the worn out phrase, fake it till you make it, still stands: Don’t wait until you feel confident to start putting yourself out there. Courage comes from taking risks. Change your behaviour first and allow your confidence to build. 

Don’t shy away or dismiss compliments by attributing your success to external factors. Own it! When you feel undeserving, go back and review previous accomplishments or positive feedbacks. Recount the people whom you made a difference to. This will help assure you that nobody belongs here more than you do. No one is telling you to be ostentatious, but downplaying your success will help no one.

6. Refrain from Comparison

Comparison can be lethal. If you don’t measure up against successful people around you, that doesn’t mean you are any less. Never compare other people’s highs to your lows. Remember, these very successful people were in your place once. It may even seem that some people achieve success effortlessly but the reality everyone is facing a unique set of challenges and struggles, known only to them. Learn to value your own strengths and once you start respecting your own potential, you will soon realize that you have a lot to offer.

Empower Yourself with Expert Advice from Tower Group Recruitment

Often situations exist in which you many not feel 100% confident, and that is ok. The best way to beat impostor syndrome is to continue taking action, irrespective of how you feel. It is said that if you take the risk and do what you fear the most, then you can do anything. It takes a lot of courage to pursue challenges even when you’re doubtful. After all, you can never really know how much you can accomplish if you don’t try.


Image Source: Pexels