What is Imposter Syndrome and how can you combat it?

Last week was Wellbeing Week and we saw some amazing activity in our network, but it got me thinking how one particular subject that can impact well-being, isn’t a common thread in the “well-being conversation” and yet it can cause low mood, anxiety and impact job satisfaction; and it’s known as Imposter Syndrome!

Did you know that the likes of Meryl Streep, Chris Martin, Michelle Obama and Tom Hanks, to name but a few, all struggle with Imposter Syndrome? Tom Hanks stated in an interview with NPR that “There comes a point where you think, how did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything from me?”

So what is Imposter Syndrome?

Loosely defined as doubting your skills, talents, ability and accomplishments and feeling that you are a fake, Imposter Syndrome is an easy place to end up when everyone is seeking your counsel in a meeting, or when you are having conversations and people are really listening, when you win that piece of business, oh and don’t forget when winning those accolades!

You get that sense that despite all your efforts, the long hours, the missed family time, the sweat, tears and frustration that you don’t deserve all that you are reaping, that the rewards belong to someone else, or that they’ll be temporary, fearing internally that you’ll be exposed as an “imposter”.

How do I know if I have it?

Have you ever heard yourself say “Well, you’ve got to fake it to make it”? A person with Imposter Syndrome isn’t just saying it, they really believe it. They fear the mask will slip and that any success they have is based on the right time and right place, rather than on their efforts got them to the right time and the right place.

A person with Imposter Syndrome will focus on the fact that anyone else could have achieved what they just did, that it was a team effort and will often play down their part in any success.

So how do we manage this, if this is us?

First, acknowledge it! Then find a network of support where you can talk and allow people to show you that your feelings are unfounded.

Take your head to a courtroom; what evidence have you got that supports your thoughts versus what evidence do you have that says “erm, no on this occasion you have it wrong”!

And I can’t resist a good old SWOT analysis, but not on your business; on you, yourself. Making your strengths visual will always help you see that you can own them, own your success and your achievements.

Be mindful that Imposter Syndrome impacts teams and businesses, so keep an eye out for those in your teams struggling with feelings of being inadequate and if you want to bring this to life and allow a place for people to share and learn more about how to manage feeling like an imposter, feel free to get in contact with us where we can talk through our interactive training modules.

Finally….. remember, you are where you are supposed to be!

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