Do you ever feel like an imposter?
Like the more you excel, the more risk there is that people will find out that you don’t actually know what you’re doing, and that they can't actually trust you and your capabilities.
Or maybe you’ve just started a new role, and wondered how you got there, cause you definitely didn’t feel like you deserved it.
It's a terrible feeling, I know.
I’ve definitely felt it myself at many points throughout my life.
Imposter Syndrome. It’s much more common than you think.
According to the International Journal Of Behavioural Science, an incredible 70% of professionals feel like an imposter in their workplace. In fact, the majority of high-achieving millennials experience imposter syndrome on a regular basis.
And here you thought you were the only one.
In my opinion, one of the worst consequences is the detrimental effect it has on your leadership potential.
So read on for my 4 tips to help keep this little voice inside your head in check!
Focusing on objective facts rather than clouded emotions
Quite often, we let our emotions cloud our logic. The next thing you know, we've started these crazy counterproductive habits and ideas that we carry with us throughout our career, and for some, all the way up to senior leadership.
I constantly have to work harder than others in order to just 'keep up'.
I must be perfect in order for others to approve of me.
Keeping up appearances is more important than how I feel inside.
Now, these thoughts are EMOTIONAL in nature. As they are driven by emotions such as fear, pressure, anxiety, or nervousness. And these are attached to the presumed negative outcomes of failure and judgment.
The only way to fight this is to view things from a more objective perspective.
Objectively assess your performance in past situations - the good and the bad - to make a balanced judgment on your capabilities. Write down your past accomplishments and what you're good at, and compare that with what your emotions are telling you.
Focusing on the facts allows us to think more clearly.
Are you really as bad as you think you are?
Dial down on the perfectionism
Do you find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle of perfectionism?
Maybe you're the type to agonize over the details, or maybe it's that you can't stop worrying about what others think.
In other words, you either put impossibly high standards on yourself, or you perceive that others put those high standards on you.
Let me ask you a question - would you expect your boss, colleague, or child to be perfect all the time? Would you hold someone to these high standards if they were to make an error in a presentation or speech?
You don't expect it from others, so you shouldn’t really expect it from yourself.
Instead of trying to be perfect in every situation, you can try to be perfect in the given situation.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes in order to experience true growth
Rather than striving to keep up the facade, it's important to be accepting and willing to make mistakes so that you can allow yourself the compassionate space to learn and grow.
Ask yourself - even if I make a mistake here and there - does that truly make me an imposter?
Irrespective, you need to start making mistakes sooner rather than later. Because the longer you wait, the more your career might progress, and the more you’re going to have to put up the facade and continue to feel like an ’imposter’.
Allow yourself to feel the rewards of your hard labour
The worst thing you can do is work incredibly hard to move up from one level to the next, only to fail to revel in your achievements - tell me, what's the point in all of that?!
Be easier on yourself. You deserve to feel happy and accomplished and worthy of the position you are in.
Do something special to signify your achievements and train your brain to continue achieving through positive reinforcement.
Whatever you choose to do, don't let irrational emotions hold you back from the leader you know you can be.
"Don't let imposter syndrome block your leadership potential"
I'm not saying that imposter syndrome is easy to beat.
It's a self-defeating cycle that can be extremely hard to overcome. However, the sooner you address it and take steps to break out of this vicious pattern, the better off you will be in your career.
Let me know how these tips work for you in the comments below!
Looking for more advice on how to beat the imposter monster? Get in touch here.