Imposter syndrome can be exhausting, but there are ways to overcome it. Life coach and author Becky Hall shares five tips for dealing with imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is the inner, often secret conviction that despite our experience, skills and qualifications, we’re somehow just not good enough for the job we’re in. We live in fear of being found out.
In this state, we worry, we compare and it can drive us to work longer or harder to overcompensate. It’s an exhausting cycle of anxiety. If you suffer from imposter syndrome, here are 5 tips to help you overcome it.
Re-set your mindset; from scarcity to enough
Your mindset is the framework of your thinking—the basis of what you believe about the world and your place in it. Your underlying inner beliefs shape who you are, what you do and what you allow ourselves to be capable of, which is why it’s so important. Imposter syndrome comes from what’s known as a “scarcity mindset”. From here we are convinced that we lack what we require—that we just aren’t good enough. It triggers fear responses, which is what can lead us to such anxiety.
"Learning to accept yourself exactly as you are, and realising that you are enough is such a gift"
Try replacing this with an “enough mindset” by substituting fear with self-love. Learning to accept yourself exactly as you are, and realising that you are enough—with all your flaws and talents—is such a gift. Sure, you can learn and grow, but as a starting point you are already enough! You are much more likely to do well if you are coming from a place of believing this. It relaxes you and stops you from reacting as if you are being attacked, and puts you into a state of ease and flow. Practice simply saying to yourself, “I am enough” and noticing what you have, rather than what you lack.
Imposter syndrome and its toxic friend perfectionism come from a fantasised version of the world. There is no such thing as perfection. It’s a false construct because we’re human, and it’s so damaging because we can only ever fall short in relation to it.
Remind yourself that there's no such thing as perfection
Remembering that everyone (including you) is human and therefore fallible can be a hugely helpful re-frame here. You don’t have to be perfect—no one is. This can help you to let go of the judgement gremlin telling you that you aren’t really the right person to be doing this. Nonsense—you are the person doing this. Give it your best and that will be enough.
Notice your self-talk and challenge it by inviting more voices
Who is it that’s telling you that you can’t do the job or that you’re an imposter? Often it’s the loud critical voice in our heads that makes it so hard to believe that we are enough. Notice how and when that loud critical voice dominates your thinking. It’s like that person at a party who arrives and takes over the conversation, not letting anyone else get a word in edgeways.
"Imposter syndrome is like that person at a party who arrives and takes over the conversation"
Rather than just wishing it away (which is pretty hard when it’s so established), try inviting a couple of other voices. That quiet person next to you at a party who might have a different view. What might a kinder voice say? What would your best friend be saying? Try listening to them for a bit and have a break from the critic.
It’s unlikely that your critical voice will go away completely, but at least there will be alternative voices offering you a different perspective. Practice thinking in this way. It really will turn down the volume on your inner critic!
Keep an “I did it list"
We all have to-do lists telling us what we have to do, but try keeping an “I did it” list at the end of each day. Write down the two or three things that you are pleased to have achieved that day. What did you do well today? What are you grateful for?
Set aside time to celebrate your achievements
This turns the idea that you aren’t good enough on its head, which is where it belongs because it’s upside down thinking!
Create your “enough” mantra
Write a sentence that speaks directly to the doubts that you feel. For example, “I am good enough exactly as I am”. Practice saying it to yourself every single day.
"When you change what you believe about yourself, anything is possible"
The good news is that our brains literally change when we practice thinking differently—it’s called neuroplasticity, and it’s the key to changing how we think. When you change what you believe about yourself, anything is possible.
Becky Hall is an accredited life coach and the author of The Art of Enough
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