I can’t handle this, everyone is going to find out soon enough. I’m not good enough. How did I get this? How did I end up here? Everyone knows I can’t handle it. I’m going to ruin this opportunity. I’ll never be good enough. These are just some of the thoughts that can plague you when you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome, and yes it’s as exhausting as it sounds!
Imposter syndrome is something that so many of us experience during our lives. It is the feeling of low self worth or being inadequate even though you have great success. You tend to think everything has come down to luck and good timing and not being the awesome person you are. It’s incredibly common, in fact it is said that 70% of people experience Imposter Syndrome at one point in their careers. That’s a HUGE number of people diminishing their incredible talents.
It’s not just about work. Although Imposter Syndrome can be attributed to a lot of workplace environments, people forget that it can also affect us in our day to day lives. We can look around our amazing group of friends and wonder how we got so lucky they wanted to hang out with us, or that they are only hanging out with us because they feel sorry for us. BUT – they choose to hang out with you! Imposter Syndrome can be a consistent negative voice telling us our friend’s don’t like us, but believe me, if they didn’t want to hang out with you – they wouldn’t. Embrace the wonderful friends you have!
1. Talk about your worries
Our brains love to keep negative thoughts on repeat, and it’s easy to believe them when they keep spinning around in your head. Don’t feel like you have to suffer in silence, find a trusted friend or family member and talk to them about how you are feeling. You may have convinced yourself that you can’t handle a project coming up or you shouldn’t put yourself forward for that new position. But sometimes talking with a friend as to what you’re feeling can really help. Our friends love us and want us to succeed, and who can blame them? We’re amazing! Sometimes just getting a thought out in the world with a loved one can quieten it down, it can make us feel a lot less alone and give us the energy to carry on.
A new perspective can really help you understand where this worry may be coming from. If you don’t know how to start this conversation with a friend click here for some insight how to.
2. List all your skills and talents
Open up the notes app on your phone or grab a fresh bit of paper, grab a pen and just keep writing everything you can do – no matter how small it is! Whether it’s being a good writer, enjoying exercise, juggling, great at gaming, winning a race or being an excellent listener – everything is important. Think of what you’re proud of doing at home, school, work and in your personal life. Once you have written everything down, take a look back at the paper. I bet you’ll be so surprised at how much you can and have done. Keep the list open for more things that pop in your head. We’ve created a list here to start you off.
No skill is ever wasted, you use all these skills and talents all the time without even realising. For example, being really good at computer games? Helps with critical thinking. Are you a great listener? That helps you be a great team player and make friends feel loved and heard. All these skills you list help you be the awesome person that you are – so don’t let that negative voice win.
3. Challenge that negative voice
When it comes to the negative voice of self doubt it’s so easy to listen, and really really hard to ignore it. So instead of trying to bury that voice, challenge it. Write down when it comes to you? Is it constantly picking you? Does it come when you’re a bit tired or stressed? It’s good to know if certain feelings or situations make the voice louder. Remember, it’s okay, noting when the voice is there can help you know when to expect it and be prepared for it.
If the voice is being loud and you’re starting to believe it, ask yourself – why is it saying this? Remember to send yourself positive vibes like “I’m good at so many things, I am talented, I can do this”.
If you find it hard to challenge the voice, just keep telling yourself you can go for that promotion/raise/new class on offer. Just keep reminding yourself how amazing and capable you are. It’s easier said than done, but practice makes perfect. By challenging that voice you are sticking up for yourself and all the hard work you’ve done to get here – so keep pushing back! Keep up with positive affirmations until you believe them.
4. Put yourself out there
When your imposter syndrome is at a high, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to start anything. You might feel like you’ll never get it right (perfectionism can be a side effect of Imposter Syndrome) or that people will discover you don’t know what you’re talking about. But just because you feel like you can’t do it doesn’t mean that you should believe it.
There is a reason why you got to where you are – you are skilled, talented and totally able to handle this! Otherwise your boss/friend/you wouldn’t have thought about you doing it.
Apply for that job, challenge, club or new friendship circle, putting yourself out there is the first step. If you don’t go for it you’ll never know what could have happened, life is short so you might as well give it all you’ve got!
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Give yourself a break, all these steps are to be done mindfully and kindly to yourself. Talk to yourself how you would to a friend, stick up for yourself and be your own cheerleader! Make sure to do some serious self care in whatever form that takes for you. Change the language you use for yourself, keep it positive and understand why you might be being so hard on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with liking perfection and pushing yourself to the limit – but remember to take a breath, and think as long as you have done your best, that it is enough and all you can do.
It can be really hard keeping up motivation when you keep doubting your ability to be there, but I promise you do have what it takes – you just need to believe it!
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