At some point in our lives, we are likely to experience situations where we lack faith in our abilities to perform given tasks. It does not stop at temporary self-doubt – and although it is not a diagnosable condition, scientists, researchers and psychologists are in consensus that imposter syndrome is a real and crippling phenomenon.
Here are some tips on overcoming it, and learning to feel deserving of your accomplishments and competent at what you do.
Get comfortable making mistakes
All too often, perfectionism plays a big role in the feeling of undeservedness. You can tell when this is happening when you find yourself dismissing past and current achievements. It’s no good if it’s not perfect, you may have thought. I’ll never get it right if I fail. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Feeling like an imposter might make you believe that you are not as competent and worthy of respect as you actually are.
Allow yourself to start
Usually, imposter syndrome has a funny way of making one overthink without getting anything done. While being calculated and preparing well for a project can be a good thing, being caught up in the idea of executing plans perfectly can prevent great projects from starting. It is the antithesis of productivity. It always helps to know that you can begin where you are, with what you have, and make changes as time goes on. The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Develop a sense of pride in yourself
Believing in yourself and the value you have to offer is an important part of psychological development. It enables learning, build resilience and self efficacy, and allows for a more grounded, reasonable assessment of your capabilities. Arrogance and misperceptions of the self can result in either misplaced confidence and delusion, or self dismissal and feelings of unworthiness. It is better to take a step back from your achievements and look back on the process. Take the time to see the importance of what you have done and what it took to bring yourself to this point.
Learn to silence the inner critic
Growing up, we learned to internalize the voices, opinions and ideas of other people. Family, friends, social groups, discourse communities. Aside from our own negativity bias that stops us from trying new things that may help us grow as people, or overcoming a flaw in our character, the internalized voices of others – the inner critic – latches on to our ideas of what we are or aren’t allowed to do. This also has an impact on the way we place value on the things we do, and the things we would like to explore as hobbies or career choices.
When you notice yourself being negative and the voices in your mind acting up, pause. Realise what that voice is saying. Imagine there is a volume control that regulates that voice, and turn the sound down slowly until you cannot hear it anymore. This is an effective way of establishing your own importance, and rediscovering how you feel about the interests you are pursuing.
Document achievements so you can better recognize your own accomplishments, successes, accolades and achievements throughout your life in a journal, social media, photographs,etc. Getting into a propensity for recording your successes can assist you with remembering them and can fight off sensations of the inevitable syndrome when it hits.