Imposter syndrome is defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills.” It’s the feeling in the back of your mind that you’re a fraud, just waiting to be found out… The feeling that you’re not good enough and do not deserve all that you have achieved… and it’s the self-doubt that holds you back from reaching your full potential.
When it is left untreated, imposter syndrome may worsen symptoms of anxiety, inhibit creativity and prohibit success. It can also lead to burnout and/or a lack of work-life balance. In general, it can have severe negative effects on your professional and personal life.
The amazing news is that there are some simple things you can do to lessen the effects of imposter syndrome and eventually train your brain to overcome it. We’ve put together some tried and true tips to help you overcome imposter syndrome and start owning your accomplishments.
Remember you are not alone
According to a 2018 study on imposter syndrome, more than 80 percent of adults have or will experience imposter syndrome in their lifetime. You most likely have friends, family or co-workers that share similar feelings. Many successful, prominent people have proclaimed to have had feelings of imposter syndrome, including Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks and many more.
List your qualifications
Listing your qualifications or creating a SWOT analysis for yourself will allow you to see your strengths and weaknesses. When you write your list or look back at it, remember the hard work that led to your accomplishments. Remember that you could never have achieved what you have on luck alone. Any time you have a feeling of self-doubt, look at your list or re-write it to remind yourself.
Celebrate your accomplishments
Don’t let your accomplishments go uncelebrated, no matter how small. All your accomplishments are important and have helped you get to where you are. Celebrate by treating yourself, share your success with a friend or just give yourself a good old pat on the back.
Visualize your success
When you’re feeling doubtful, visualize your success. This can help you reduce negative thoughts and start to better understand how to be more successful. When you do achieve success, you will be able to better believe you deserve it because you have already seen yourself reaching said success!
Share your feelings with others
Sometimes, all you need is an outside perspective. Get out of your own head and discuss your feelings with a friend or a confidante. Most likely they will tell you how amazing you are, and they will help to remind you that you belong where you are.
Be kind to yourself
It’s important to remember, you are where you are for a reason and it’s not just because you got “lucky”. Be kind to yourself; no one is perfect, and you are not an exception to this. You are allowed to make mistakes, and you should… this is how you learn and improve. Remember to be patient with yourself and prioritize your mental health.