Beating the imposter inside of us
Imposter syndrome is one of those phrases you’ve likely heard or used about yourself. In fact, numerous celebrities and high-profile politicians have all confessing to having suffered from it, including most recently, Amanda Gorman in her candid interview with Michelle Obama for Time Magazine.
It’s a term used to describe the psychological phenomenon of intense feelings of self-doubt to the extent where people feel like a fraud, either in their personal or professional lives, though it’s most frequently the latter.
Imposter syndrome is associated with behaviours like perfectionism and overworking. These are excellent characteristics to be a high achiever, but can be unrealistic and costly. Those with imposter syndrome can hold themselves to impossibly high standards, feel shame, and experience low self-esteem.
You might be experiencing imposter syndrome if you:
- Downplay your accomplishments
- Avoid feedback
- Reluctant to ask for help
- Refuse new opportunities
- Overwork yourself to the point of burnout
- Fail to start (or finish) projects
How can you combat it?
In a blog post for Psychology Today, professor and author Andy Molinksy suggests doing your best to change the negative perceptions you have of yourself and finding solace in the knowledge that your peers may be experiencing similar doubts.
“Next time you’re in a situation that feels completely outside your comfort zone, don’t focus on your failures,” he adds.
“Consider it your opportunity to learn from your missteps and to bring forth a new perspective that others may not have.”
We spoke to Lindsey Rollings, Business Development Director for Buy-From about her top tips for overcoming Imposter Syndrome:
- Start a conversation – this can be hard at first, but a lot of it is finding the right person to reach out to. It might not be the most obvious person but once you start it will make It so much easier. And actually what you need to say will flow more freely once you are over that initial start point. If this is relevant to an employee – encourage them to talk but remember you may not be the right set of ears for them.
- Create an achievement list – this is a great exercise – write down everything you have achieved in life – big and small – it all counts. This is about self-love!
- Reward yourself – don’t skim over successes!
- Journaling – this can be a game changer! I started journaling back in March 2020 and it really has changed things for me. I practice gratitude daily and it’s been a great coping mechanism. Don’t feel like you need to do pages and pages -- just a set of 3 bullet options a day about how you are feeling etc -- it will help and you can build up.
- Try to quit the comparison culture
- Less screen time
- Reminisce – so we do this exercise when we end the year. But it can be done at any point. It’s kind of a refocus exercise – forcing us to see the good that is there. What you need to do is look back at your camera reel of photos from the last 12 months. Go back slowly, flicking through and you will discover those really lovely moments you may have forgotten about. You snapped them in the moment but perhaps haven’t looked back again. Now is that time. It could be a sunrise of sunset you snapped, a lovely walk or perhaps a delicious dinner you cooked. This just helps you to realise all the lovely things that you have experienced. Give it a go – you will be surprised how many things you snap.
February is Boost Your Self-Esteem month so it is the perfect time to start taming your inner critic and start recognising your accomplishments, however small they may seem.