You are not alone.
Doubts creep in, despite how successful you are. Imposter Syndrome is the tendency to discount obvious evidence of our abilities. And, while it isn’t a diagnosable mental illness, it can be debilitating. And, sharing with others that you believe you are an imposter is likely not going to serve you well. The good news is, however, that it is all about the story you are telling yourself.
Would you be surprised to know that nearly 70% of people have experienced Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever found yourself (silently) telling yourself:
“If they only knew that I wasn’t an expert at this, they would have never hired me; I wonder how long I can fake it until I am found out?”
“I’m in over my head and am not qualified for this!”
“I cannot believe everyone is making a big deal out of my recent accomplishment. I mean, if I can do it, how hard could it be.”
“I cannot believe I have fooled everyone into thinking that I deserved that promotion. I wonder how long before they figure out that I am truly just faking it?”
Change the story.
Would you be surprised to learn that you can think your way out of this? You can change the story you tell yourself. When you make a mistake, you may feel shame and compare yourself to others. That is thinking like an imposter. Non-imposters understand that they cannot be brilliant at everything and they are okay with that. If you can learn to think like a non-imposter, you can overcome this feeling. Pay attention to the thoughts on which you focus and you can learn to reframe them. For example, next time you find yourself comparing yourself to a particularly analytical colleague, instead of dwelling on how you are more less analytical than him, switch your focus to “It is so great to have him on my team, being that I am the creative one and he keeps me grounded; we make a great pair.”
It is all in the story you are telling yourself. And, while you cannot control impulsive thoughts you think, you can control the thoughts on which you focus. Focus on the reasonable thought that you cannot possibly be an expert in everything.
Celebrate your little wins.
Considering your accomplishments does help. Make a list of your major accomplishments to which you can frequently refer. Put them in a visual field that you look at often, like your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, etc.
You have a mission in your life and you are making a difference. Never underestimate the influence you have on the others around you. You have had a kaleidoscope of millions of experiences that have formed you into who you are today. You are unique and you have a unique skill set.
Feelings are the last to change
No one feels confidence 24/7. You don’t have to feel confident to act confident. Start today, by telling yourself a different story and stop waiting to not feel like an imposter anymore. Your feelings about this will be the last to change. Take control back by reframing errors in thinking that you are an imposter. Tell yourself a better story. The better story pushes the imposter out of the book and brings the hero in.