I coach people to communicate their message more effectively and present the best version of themselves. Doing this, I meet a lot of different and interesting people.
This year, for some reason, I have noticed the prominence of an ever-increasing condition among our delegates – imposter syndrome. According to Wikipedia, ‘Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Certainly, for many of the people I work with, imposter syndrome appears to be an ever-present phenomenon and can lead to a severe manifestation of self-doubt. They refer to the ‘little voice in my head’ that nags and niggles away at them. They feel that someone better is just around the corner or they are just about getting away with something and it’s only a matter of time before they get found out. It could be a nagging sense that whatever they do is never quite good enough. Do any of these resonate with you?
Believing in yourself and your abilities isn’t something that happens overnight. The process was meant to have begun as children. If you somehow missed out on that, it can take some time to become your own greatest fan and feel able to celebrate your successes. Start with the small things and build on them from there:
• Everyone is different
Comparing yourself to others who you perceive to be better in some way can be hard. Recognise that you are unique: no-one has your experiences, skills and attributes and stay true to what you want and believe.
• There is no such thing as perfect
This involves a complete reframing of everything you’ve ever achieved. Perfection does not exist. Recognise that we are all trying to improve every day. If you can acknowledge this, the next time you present something or give a talk, does what you have done do the job? If so, accept this and move on.
• Pedestals are for pushing over
I have written about this separately before. The pedestal here is a metaphor. This is the idea that you should never put anyone on a pedestal and if you find yourself doing so, push them off! This is because no-one is better than you. They may have more experience or skills, but this does not make them superior in any way.
• Accept praise
Try to accept that your efforts may have played a part in a successful outcome. When you receive a compliment, accept it! Saying thank you to the praise you receive for your part in something is vital to acknowledge.
• Reverse the negativity
This can be hard: how to stop the voice in your head that says you’re not good enough. Whenever a negative thought occurs, acknowledge this has happened and try to come up with a positive alternative. Try to adopt a personal mantra along the lines of ‘I am enough’ or ‘I give everything the best I can’. Attempt to visualise a positive image or affirmation of success that you can embrace at any given moment. These are all small steps, but over time they can build up to an alternative picture that can challenge your inner feelings of being a ‘fraud’.
If you want support and coaching to help overcome any feelings of self-doubt, contact Eaglei for further information – firstname.lastname@example.org.