Resisting Imposter Syndrome
Over the past year, I’ve heard and read a lot about Imposter Syndrome. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that we all – at one point or another – feel like a fraud. My conclusion isn’t just a hunch. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Salzburg, 70 percent of participants reported feeling like frauds at work.
An expert on the subject, Dr. Valerie Young, has categorized Imposter Syndrome into five subgroups:
1. The Perfectionist: perfectionists set excessively high goals for themselves. When they fail to reach a goal they experience major self-doubt and worry about measuring up.
2. The Superwoman/man: these people push themselves to work harder, faster, and longer to measure up to their “real-deal” colleagues.
3. The Natural Genius: these people set their internal bar impossibly high, just like perfectionists, but they don’t just judge themselves based on ridiculous expectations – they also judge themselves based on getting things right on the first try.
4. The Soloist: soloists feel as though asking for help reveals their phoniness so they take everything on independently to prove their worth.
5. The Expert: experts measure their competence based on “what” and “how much” they know or can do. Believing they will never know enough, they fear being exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable.
So, in this world of “fake it ’til you make it” optimism, how can we overcome feelings of inadequacy with confidence? Here are some tips I found to help push away the “shame gremlins” (thank you, Brené Brown!) and believe that you are enough.
* Remember your wins: get in a confident state of mind by playing your own sizzle reel in your head, focusing on the times you KNOW you rocked it!
* Listen to people who believe in you: when in doubt, turn to people who believe in you. A little bit of reassurance goes a long way.
* Be vulnerable: share your insecurities and fears with someone you trust. You’ll likely find that the process of talking it out helps kick anxiety to the curb.
* Put it in perspective: whether you’re nervous about an upcoming presentation, sharing your ideas on a new plan, or having a one-on-one with your boss, think about the bigger picture and your overall goals/mission to help put things in perspective.
* Do what you love: when you’re doing what you love, you don’t generate self-doubt.
For me, remembering that I’m not alone helps tremendously. We’re all just moving through this life, doing the best we can. Let’s let that be enough, because it is.