Have you ever felt like you didn’t have what it takes to actually accomplish the goals you are responsible to reach? Have you had the feeling that you’re not what others believe you are; that they’re going to find out and you’d be embarrassed…or worse yet, kicked to the curb? I’ve certainly felt that at different points in my career. Those feelings have a name. It’s called Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is a big topic right now. I’ve seen several blogs, podcasts and news articles about it in the last two weeks. What does that say about us as people, as leaders, as professionals?
What is Imposter Syndrome?
- Imposter Syndrome is a general feeling that we’re going to be found out, we don’t belong, what others see in us we are not capable of.
- Amy Cuddy, author of Presence, defines imposter syndrome as “That general feeling that we don’t belong—that we’ve fooled people into thinking we’re more competent and talented than we actually are. … It’s not simple stage fright or performance anxiety; rather, it’s the deep and sometimes paralyzing believe that we have been given something we didn’t earn and don’t deserve and that at some point we’ll be exposed.”
Up to 70 percent of successful people struggle with Imposter Syndrome? If you feel you have experienced this, you’re clearly not alone!
How do we know if we’re dealing with Imposter Syndrome?
These thought processes that may indicate that you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome:
- Fear of failure.
- Feeling like a fake.
- Believing you just got lucky.
- Discounting success that you clearly worked hard for and accomplished.
Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome:
- Over thinking or second guessing.
- Fixating on how we think others are judging us.
- Being scattered, feeling underprepared.
What causes Imposter Syndrome?
- The enemy meddling in our mind. Satan will magnify any small amount of doubt. Keeping us tangled in false beliefs about our capabilities keeps us from contributing at our highest level. This kind of lie is right up his alley.
- Comparing ourselves to others.
- Comparing our inside to others outside, our weaknesses to others strengths. This is endemic on social media.
- We all have our own masterpiece work to do. If we compare our masterpiece work to that of others, we’re not focused on what is ours to do.
- Trying to do our masterpiece work in our own strength, rather than relying on God.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis
What can we do to overcome Imposter Syndrome?
- Be aware of your triggers and feelings. Awareness is the key to overcoming Imposter Syndrome. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.
- Practice positive self-talk. If you recognize those imposter feelings coming on, counter them with truth. Remind yourself about times when you have been capable, you have been successful and you have made a difference by doing what you’re good at doing.
- Talk about your feelings with a safe person. Imposter Syndrome thrives on the fact that we don’t want to admit we’re afraid; we don’t want to admit we think we’re not capable. Imposter Syndrome grows in the dark of secrecy.
- Consider the context. If you’re in a learning curve or a new situation, recognize that you might not be perfect this time around. Allow for mistakes and give yourself the grace to do your best and learn from any mistakes you make.
- Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Just as a toddler learning to walk gets back up when they fall down, remind yourself that any new opportunity has failures as well as successes. Many successful people say that they learn as much or more from their failures as they do from successes.
Imposter Syndrome causes unnecessary stress. It prevents us from reaching our potential. It holds us back from accomplishing our goals. Let’s stop believing those lies about ourselves and truly believe we are capable of the masterpiece work that God created for us.
Click here to listen to Andee and I discuss Imposter Syndrome on this week’s podcast.
Presence, by Amy Cuddy