Do you ever doubt your skills, talents, or accomplishments, or are you afraid of being exposed as a fraud, despite external evidence of your competence? Have you ever thought “I’ll be found out and they’ll see I don’t deserve this”?
Those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved. The phenomenon is known as “Impostor Syndrome”. Impostor syndrome is an internalised experience in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and may have a fear of being exposed as a fraud.
It is believed that around 70% of the adult population suffer from this at some time in their lives. The majority of us have had some doubts about our abilities – for example when we start a new job, receive a promotion, become a new parent – among many different scenarios. However, if those beliefs persist and become debilitating, they can then stop us fulfilling our role.
Some of the signs of Impostor Syndrome are:
· Doubting or denying ability and praise;
· Trying to be superhuman;
· Constant dread of being found out;
· Phobia of failure;
· Feeling guilty about or afraid of success;
· Living under the constant pressure of being the best;
· Setting unrealistic and unachievable goals; sabotaging own success;
· Comparing others’ lives, possessions, successes – they always seem better than yours.
If you can identify with some of these signs, it might be useful for you to think about trying to adjust your unhelpful thinking, to allow you to fulfil your full potential.
Some helpful ideas for combatting Impostor Syndrome are, firstly, to stop comparing yourself to others and finding that you always fall short. Separate your feelings from the facts. Feeling stupid does not mean you are stupid. Recognising that feeling fraudulent can be a normal response to being in a new position, or starting with a new organisation, can help you understand your feelings.
What would you say to someone else if they were telling you they felt this way? We often discount the positives by saying, “Yes, but that doesn’t count”. Try making the positives count.
If we can learn to develop a more solution-based response to failure, we can learn from our mistakes instead of allowing then to define us. In other words, we develop a more helpful self-talk. It can be really useful to practise visualisation of success. Many successful people talk about how they visualised their success, even through the difficult times, and this helped them to achieve their goal.
Finally, being aware of the negative impact of excessive social media can help us to rationalise our fears. If we believe everything we read on the social media platforms, we will often find ourselves falling short.
To find out more about International SOS, contact Claire Westbrook-Keir at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org OR ABZ.WORKPLACEWELLBEING@INTERNATIONALSOS.COM