Have you ever felt like a fraud? Like when you got into a really good school or aced a test? Nah, the school must have made a mistake, your BFF actually helped you study so you couldn't take all the credit. Or when you landed that job you wanted, but you thought you were overqualified for? You feel like someone is going to find out that you do not belong there. Because let's be honest, you have no idea what you are doing.
70% of the world's population has experienced what we know as Impostor Syndrome. It is the feeling of self doubt, shame and feeling like a fraud. Most of the time these feelings are unmotivated, because they are based on facts that you have made up all on your own, in your head! You might experience thoughts such as: I am not smart enough to be where I am. I am not talented enough, they only picked me because they ran out of options. Who is really implying these things? Could it be you?
It is OK to have these thoughts, but you shouldn't have to deal with them all the time. You can go from living an impostor life to (at most) experiencing impostor moments. Are you ready? OK, here we go!
This guy actually is a fraud but he should still recognize his self worth and success'.
How to go from living an impostor life to only having impostor moments?
Impostor syndrome is completely related to the thoughts you feed your brain. These thoughts then create emotions in our body such as anxiety, shame and self doubt. To change your emotions in an impostorial situation, you need to change how you react to such a situation.
Recognize your thoughts
First off you need to recognize your thoughts. What are they and when do they appear? Using a pen and paper to write them down could be a good idea, just to make it more clear to yourself.
Admit you are not a superhuman, but you are still pretty Cool
The next step is to try to start thinking like a “non-impostor”. The big difference between you and a non impostor is that you feel shame when you can't do something. While a non impostor knows that they can't master everything and they are OK with that. I hate to break it to you, but you are not a superhuman. You will fail, you don't have the answers to everything, you are not perfect - and that is more than fine.
You just have to rewrite your script. Change how you speak to yourself when you find yourself in an impostorial situation. Instead of hating on yourself when you get rejected at a job interview, try to learn from your mistakes.
Instead of thinking "I didn't get it, they must have realized I don't have my sh*t together". Tell yourself "At least I went there and did my best. How can I better prepare for the next interview?".
Good vibes lead to great performance
People with impostor syndrome are great at overthinking and trigger their own anxiety. They imagine the worst outcome of every scary situation. This can lead to self sabotaging and messing stuff up that you usually would have under control. Avoid self sabotage by visualizing success instead of failure when facing a challenge. Visualize speaking up during a scary meeting and your team mates taking your ideas on board. Or imagine nailing that quarterly presentation you always dread doing. Or approach that co-worker you have been checking out since you started. Because, what is the worst thing that can happen? If you go in with a positive attitude you are more likely to do a good job and things are more likely to go your way. Also.. when you do succeed, don't forget to reward yourself for a job well done. A pat on the back never hurt nobody.
"You are where you are because you deserve a seat at the table"
Fake it til' you make it
As mentioned above you need to change your behaviour to gain better control of your emotions. Sometimes, one of the best ways to do this is by throwing yourself out there and fake it til you make it. It will build courage and if you get away with it, you will feel empowered coming out on the other side.
Hopefully these tips can help you go from living an impostor life to only having impostor moments. And don't forget - you are where you are because you deserve a seat at the table. And if you don't think so - you probably deserve it even more.