Have you ever had the nagging feeling that you don’t belong, that you don’t quite deserve your success or that at any moment you’re going to be uncovered as a fraud? You might feel like you have misreprenstend yourself, or that you don’t have the correct skills, background or experience to be doing what you’re doing. Research has shown getting these imposter feelings is common, but if these feelings are impacting on your thoughts, feelings or actions consistently you might be experiencing “imposter syndrome“.
Feeling like a fraud isn’t uncommon. Around 30-50% of people consistently have imposter feelings. These feelings might appear at particular times such as when starting a new job or making a presentation. This diagram from thinkwell sums it up perfectly.
Feeling like an imposter can have a real impact on your life, and at times can result in procrastination (leaving things to the last minute) perfectionism (setting yourself standards that are too high), or a lack of effort (so if things go wrong you can say it’s because you didn’t even try).
Where do the imposter feelings come from? They can be caused by a need for things to be perfect, from being overpraised (resulting in you feeling like you’re going to let everyone down) or being told you aren’t good enough. Sometimes people worry about failing whilst others worry about being successful, wondering “how will others react to me if this happens?”
The most important thing to overcome imposter feelings is to look for evidence that you are not an imposter (chances are really you aren’t!). I’ve resorted to keeping my graduation picture at my desk as “evidence” that I’ve achieved at other times where I thought I’d never get through! Having these feelings is normal, and it’s important to be realistic (things will never be perfect, and you will make mistakes sometimes) and most importantly…remember that these thoughts are feelings not facts.
I’d love to hear if you’ve ever felt the same way or if you have any tips on how to deal with imposter feelings. Comment or tweet me @makingitmindful.
For more information and rescources on the imposter syndrome, visit the fabulous http://impostersyndrome.com.au/ website.