I had a realisation the other day. I haven’t felt imposter syndrome in a long while. Believe me when I say it’s a concept and a feeling I’m very familiar with. In my previous career I was plagued by it, constantly fearing I'd be found out as a fraud - no matter how many promotions or ‘exceeding expectations’ appraisals I received.
Several years ago, a colleague asked me if I would consider mentoring them as I was someone they aspired to be more like in the workplace. That notion totally threw me but I accepted as they were someone I could see great potential in and I wanted to support them. As I listened to her thoughts and feelings over our first couple of sessions together I realised we were totally on the same page - she was introducing me to the concept of imposter syndrome.
A great article from VeryWell Mind describes Imposter Syndrome as “an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don't belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck.”
It’s thought that as many as 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome at some point and while it’s something I’ve predominantly heard from women about, it’s thought that it’s experienced fairly equally across genders. It is also believed that most people who experience imposter syndrome also experience some level of general anxiety disorder.
So what’s changed for me? Well, for starters I work in a very different environment these days. I’m self employed, don’t have any immediate colleagues, management or line reports. And maybe all that is better for me, but aside from that, I am simply more aware of my mind, what it needs (and doesn’t need), I set my own boundaries and I create space for things that keep me well. It’s not easy and I can’t say that feelings of doubt don’t creep in from time to time but since moving into this field I have never felt like an imposter - which is strange as I’m so new and inexperienced compared to my previous career! But I do believe it’s the space I’m meant to be in and I think that goes a long way to feeling like you’re good at what you do.
If you can identify with any of the above I invite you to try these practices.
Practice mindfulness. Live in this moment, without stressing about what you have no control over or what’s already happened that you can’t change now. Take charge of your mind. (I know easier said than done, it's called a 'practice' for a reason!)
Switch the negative self talk for positive. Tell yourself ‘I am great at what I do’, ‘I deserve to be in this role/get this promotion/receive this amazing feedback’, ‘I believe people when they said I did a great job’... until you believe it.
Share your experiences of imposter syndrome with others - you are most definitely not the only one feeling this way.
You’ve got this!
If you think I can help you overcome imposter syndrome or any other challenges you’re facing, get in touch for a chat about coaching. It’s a game changer!