No, I haven’t got the name wrong from the TV Series ‘Who do you think you are?’
Seriously, have you ever had that little voice in your head encroach on your daring or even just day-to-day plans?
Sometimes, we run and rerun self-critical stories in our heads and this impacts big time! This is coined ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
If this resonates with you, you’re not alone as 70% of us (and yes I include myself in that percentage!) experience Imposter Syndrome in some shape or form at some point in our lives. Even celebs, such as Kate Winslett, have experienced it so you’re in good company.
There are lots of different ways that it can show up for us:
- You procrastinate and are never quite ready.
- You always compare yourself to others.
- You have high expectations of yourself and want everything perfect.
- You disregard positive comments from others.
- You put yourself down and downplay your skills.
- You are very sensitive to constructive criticism.
- You fear being found out as a fraud.
- You say to yourself ‘I’m not good enough’.
Often these self-critical messages in your head just pop up unconsciously. Although designed to keep you small and safe, these scripts can be exhausting and keep you stuck. Our brains think between 20,000-60,000 thoughts a day but about 80% of those thoughts are negative! These negative pathways are entrenched in our brains with these thoughts on repeat, repeat, repeat day in day out … unless we challenge them.
Rather than fighting it though and creating a tension/rub, I invite you to lean in and explore where the roots of this may have been planted …
During our childhood, we are told a lot of things by our parents, family, friends and teachers and this informs the way we think we should be. We can internalise criticisms and they can start defining who we are. These automatic thoughts can just keep playing out …
As we grow up though, we realise that this may not actually be serving us well. These messages can knock our confidence, stall our personal and professional development and lead to stagnation. They can also lead us to treat ourselves in a way which we would never treat anyone else!
Take a little time to get to know your own script and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your inner critic saying to you?
- Is it true? Check your thoughts and feelings for facts and evidence.
- How is it impacting you personally and professionally?
- Why do you let it get in the way? There will be something in it for you!
- What would your wisest friend say if they heard your internal script?
There are lots of opportunities for you to rewrite your story though so dive in and see what works for you:
Journalling – Write your thoughts down each day for a week and reframe them. Jot down the thought, acknowledge how it makes you feel, and note the helpful thought your wiser self is going to replace it with.
Power of positive self-talk – Say affirmations out loud to yourself daily to build new neural pathways helping you to believe that you have already achieved your goal. “I am… (enough/successful/influential..).” How does it make you feel when you say this?
Let go of perfectionism – Whilst there are some strengths to imposter syndrome such as having a keen eye on the detail, double checking and being committed to quality. Recognise when good is good enough and aim for the B rather than the A+ sometimes. It can be so liberating to allow yourself to make mistakes and benefit from learnings!
Accomplishments List – What successes have you have had personally and professionally? Enjoy recollecting them – our brain takes around 60 seconds for a positive thought to imbed. How do these compare to your self-critical messages?
Manage comparisonitus – Every time you compare yourself to others, you are fuelling your inner critic. Remember as hard as it may be to stay in your own lane. This could involve building self-awareness and practicing gratitude and mindfulness. What success is to one person is very different to another!
Appetite for social media – We know that overuse of social media may be related to feelings of inferiority. If you try to portray an image on social media that doesn’t match who you really are or that is impossible to achieve, it will only make your feelings of being a fraud worse!
Step into your own superpower – We are all unique and special. We have our own talents and skills and there will be things that just come naturally to us. Knowing our own superpowers is gold dust and can help us to live authentically, feel worthy and fulfilled!
Acknowledge where Imposter Syndrome may be showing up for you, … lean in, lovingly challenge and design your fulfilling future.
You’ve got this!
This article was written by Oriel Camp, Life and Career Wellbeing Coach. Oriel helps busy mums to take calm and confident control of their life and career choices and not just to service others. You can find Oriel at www.orielcoaching.co.uk and at https://www.facebook.com/orielcoachinguk.
April 6, 2023