How to Treat Imposter Syndrome
Do you ever feel like a ‘fraud’? Or perhaps that you don’t deserve what you have or want?
Most of us have experienced feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point in our lives. But when your accomplishments are a result of your own knowledge, hard work, and preparation and you still feel inadequate … you’re probably suffering from imposter syndrome.
In this post I’m going to explain what Imposter Syndrome is, how it can limit your possibilities and how you can treat Imposter Syndrome.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
It’s feeling like an imposter when you’re not. Like you’re a fraud and the whole world is going to find you out.
People with imposter syndrome believe their accomplishments are due to luck rather than their own skill.
Feeling like a fraud or a phony in your career, relationship, or generally in your life is the primary symptom of this syndrome but you may not realise that this is what you are feeling.
Imposter Syndrome Symptoms – What Are The Signs?
- You feel inherently flawed, like there’s something wrong with you – even if you can’t name what it is
- You attribute your success to external factors instead of yourself
- You experience a lot of self-doubt
- When things are going well at work, you feel elated. When they’re not going well, you feel down and depressed
- You feel like a fraud and worry that someday you’ll be exposed
- You’re drawn to people who are critical and rejecting
- You either overwork or procrastinate
Despite any successes, there’s an underlying sense that one day, it’ll all come crashing down
- You present a false self to the world, hiding the real you
Having worked with many people suffering from Imposter Syndrome as a sales strategist and trainer, in my experience these are the 10 best ways to overcome it:
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How to Treat Imposter Syndrome
1. Set realistic goals
Overachievers want to shoot for the moon, but that can end in frustration and hurt their self-confidence. Instead, practice setting realistic goals that build up to your grand plan. There is no point in putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.
2. Write a list of your accomplishments
Seeing it in black and white can help you recognise how much you’ve really done and help you learn to feel a sense of pride and happiness in your accomplishments. I’ve found that this was a really helpful exercise with people I’ve recommended it to.
If you’re having a hard time writing the list, ask a trusted friend or mentor to help you!
3. Talk to others
Reach out and talk to people you trust. You might be surprised by how many of your friends and colleagues can relate to how you feel. Listen to the people you respect in your life and let them show you how your fears are unfounded.
4. Keep a “positivity journal”
Get a lovely compliment from a friend? Smash a goal in your business? Win an award? Grab a journal and write down every single positive comment, no matter how small.
Whenever you start to feel like a fraud, break out the positivity journal and remind yourself of your achievements. I’ve realised that while this step is an important one when it comes to treating imposter syndrome, it can work wonders for everyone else as well.
5. Blow your own trumpet
To overcome imposter syndrome, you have to become better at acknowledging your success and internalising it. A good way to do this is to be better at sharing your successes with others. e.g. If you receive positive customer feedback you could share it on your social media or to your email list. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements!
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6. Define what success looks like for you
The only person that you should be comparing yourself to is you. We never truly know anyone else’s story, and if we are comparing ourselves to them, we are comparing how we feel inside with how others appear on the outside which isn’t a like for like comparison. Ask yourself: “Am I better than I was yesterday, six months ago, a year ago? What does success look like for me, and how will I measure it?”
7. Celebrate your failures
Failure can be painful but it’s one of our greatest teachers. No product or service was ever developed without experimentation, and ultimately many of those experiments fail. Each failure is a step closer to success, it teaches you something if you are open to looking for the lesson. As many say: “Failure is part of the process.” And that is true for everyone.
8. Realise no one has all the knowledge (no one knows absolutely everything!)
Even if we did know everything about a subject, the world is always changing. In addition, even if you know a subject in detail, there’s always something new to learn from someone else.
9. Visualise success
The majority of top athletes are trained to visualise their goals right before a competition. Trainers help these athletes build moments of success as well as building mental triggers for the perfect match, race, or game.
I personally love visualising a desired outcome!! How do you use visualisation to achieve your goals?
10. Acknowledge your feelings, and use it
It’s really hard to get rid of imposter syndrome completely – especially if you’ve had it for years and years. The fact that hugely successful people feel that way after all they’ve accomplished is evidence that it can sometimes be a lifelong condition.
That’s why the best angle from which to tackle your imposter syndrome isn’t getting rid of it completely; it’s stopping it from hindering your success.
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You can Overcome Imposter Syndrome
There you have it! With these tools, you now know how to treat imposter syndrome. You’ll be well on your way to recognising and combating these feelings starting literally right now.