What is Imposter Syndrome?
Most of the time, we tend to think that all high achievers are a happy lot, you wouldn’t imagine some of the challenges they go through unless you’re close to one or get to speak to one of them. A significant number of them go through what we call an imposter syndrome. This can occur when, despite great achievements, we feel as if we are a fraud, like we have cheated our way to success. We feel that what we’ve achieved is undeserved. We’re afraid of being found out, and of people discovering that all this is just by sheer luck.
A person may have struggled all the way, persevered through great challenges to make it in business but despite their success still feel that they don’t have what it takes, as if they lack certain skills. A feeling that they do not belong in the position they have reached. They always ask themselves whether they have a right to be where they are. One has a sense of being thrown into the deepest part of the pool and learning how to swim. These are the typical feelings of imposter syndrome, a phenomenon that was described by Suzanne Imes and Pauline Clance. The phenomenon happens among individuals who can be described as high achievers, people who do not have the capacity to accept and internalize their success. They end up attributing their achievements to sheer luck rather than their capacity, they often fear that others will eventually learn the truth and unmask them as undeserving, as a fraudster. This feeling is a common but one can overcome it, with some effort, it is possible to banish these feeling and learn how to appreciate and enjoy your achievements.
This is something that affects everyone, whether in a small business or in a large corporation, unfortunately some people do not even realize what is going on their life, and success becomes like a curse to them. Unless you understand it, you may not know how to deal with the situation. Here are some interesting facts about imposter syndrome.
It gets worse with more achievement.
The more you succeed the worse the imposter syndrome gets, the better you get in life, the higher the likelihood that you will brush shoulders with people who are talented and perhaps more successful than you. This leaves you feeling inadequate in comparison. So as a person in a small business, one thing that can tell you that perhaps you are on the right track is feeling that you do not compare adequately with the rest, you feel that they will discover that you’re not as good as they have come to believe. It means that you’ve made some strides in life, after all, it might not be a bad thing.
It’s a feeling that is more prevalent with high achievers
Research has shown that imposter syndrome is most prevalent with higher achievers than any other group. If this is happening to you and perhaps you have a small business, you are highly likely destined for bigger things, it means that you have set high goals for yourself and are not afraid to face them.
How do you crush imposter syndrome?
To some people, imposter syndrome can be a big problem, one that affects their life and hinders their abilities. However, it is possible to banish it through reflecting on the accomplishment, creating a list of positive things that people say about you, depriving yourself of the feeling of being inferior, talking about it and embracing the feeling with the aim to push forward.
The first step towards banishing the imposter feelings is recognizing that you are a victim. They normally say that if you want to deal with any problem in life, you need to accept that it exists and face it head on. When you’re not in denial, you’ll be free to ask for assistance and help will be forthcoming.
One of the recommended ways to banish the phenomenon is to talk about it. Your mentor may the best person to approach. Ensure that you are surrounded by people who support and encourage you. Share your feelings with your mentor. Accept that these feelings are normal as well as appreciate they are irrational.
Recognize your skills and expertise; recognize that you also have skills and abilities which others do not possess. Working with those who may perhaps be at a lower position will help you realize your strengths and weaknesses. It will help in realizing where you’ve come from, how many skills and knowledge you’ve imparted to others and what you can do to make yourself better.
You also need to make a realistic assessment of what you can do and what you can’t. Most people, especially high achievers, are looking for perfection. They fail to recognize that they cannot be good in everything; there are some things in which they will achieve excellent results while in others they may fail. A realistic assessment helps in finding areas where you can perform well and concentrate on this. It also helps in ascertaining which areas need improvement and what need can be done to achieve this.
People feel like frauds when they aren’t able to accept or internalize their successes. Accepting that we have some role in our success can help overcome this feeling. We need to realize that we aren’t given an opportunity that isn’t available, it was fair ground where all were treated relatively equally, it was your effort that got you where you are, you may have been assisted by others but if you did not have the will, they could not have achieved their objectives. There are many who have similar opportunities but haven’t managed to succeed, therefore feel proud of your achievements and recognize that you had a big role to play to get where you are.
As a person who has set high goals in life, it’s important to remember that at some time in your career, imposter syndrome may creep in, and if you’re not well prepared to deal with it can be a challenge, something that may even break you, therefore recognize it early and deal with the problem, enjoy your success, trust in yourself while recognizing that you can’t do it alone.