Imposter syndrome

Impostor syndrome is more common than you may think. In every meeting at every level, there is a good chance that a percentage of those in the meeting doubt their achievements and ability, and have a real fear that they may be found out as a fraud at any minute.

Impostor syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of job or social status but research has indicated that it is high-achieving women who are more likely to suffer from it most frequently.

Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome symptoms, such as when we start a new job and maybe for just those first few weeks when we are trying to find our feet in an unfamiliar environment with people we don't know, we can feel a little like a rabbit in the headlights.

For others, the experience can be a lifelong and often crippling affliction as no matter how qualified, talented, or capable they may be, they still have an overwhelming sense of being a fraud and feel afraid of being discovered as a fraud at any minute. They may even over-prepare and/or overwork or be a perfectionist and potentially be prone to procrastinate.

No matter what they may have achieved, they just don’t feel worthy enough and will have difficulty recognising their skills and achievements. In their minds, any success they may have is down to luck rather than ability and they, therefore, don’t deserve any reward or recognition.

Change your mindset, change your life.

It is inevitable that feeling this way can lead many sufferers to lack self-worth and self-confidence and they can be much more susceptible to feeling frustrated, angry, anxious, ashamed or worse. Indeed, many slide down the dark slippery slope of depression.

I have been in thousands of senior meetings and boardrooms during the many years I was a business consultant/contractor and in my opinion, it is very common. If anyone claims to have never experienced even a hint of imposter syndrome during their career, then they are either very lucky or they may be a megalomaniac.

Rest assured with the correct guidance and support, imposter syndrome can be overcome as it's all about mindset, and we can all change that.

Ways to overcome the imposter syndrome

1. Pay attention to your mindset

We have the ability to change our mindset at any time so when you catch yourself doubting yourself, stop and recognise and appreciate your achievements. Really focus on what you have delivered and allow yourself to feel good about it.

2. Manage our inner critical voice

Our inner critical voice is usually just that, ‘critical’. When you find your inner voice berating you, beating you up, telling you that you will be found out, that you are not good enough, try this: stop, take any colour out of the voice, turn down the volume, smooth the tone out, change the sound of it to a ridiculous voice like Micky Mouse on helium, shrink it down so it is really small and push it right out to your mental horizon.

It can say what it wants but any power it may have had will have been taken out of it. Do this every time you catch yourself talking to yourself negatively.

3. Positive self talk

Simply talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend because you are your best friend.

4. Change your viewpoint

View yourself as your best friend views you. Recognise your successes both in work and in life. Your best friend is honest with you and appreciates you for everything you are and have done. Look at yourself clearly through their eyes rather than via your own tainted peepers.

Change your mindset, change your life.

Trevor Brown

ReframeLife Mindset Coaching and Hypnotherapy

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Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 2NW

Written by Trevor Brown - Specialist in Anxiety, Confidence and Self Esteem

Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 2NW

Trevor Brown BA(Open), Dip Eur Hum(Open), DipCAH, MNCH(Lic) is a registered member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy (the largest register of independent Hypnotherapists in the UK). He has gained a Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma (HPD), the 'Gold Standard' in Hypnotherapy and is a Certified Hypnotist of the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.

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