How to overcome impostor syndrome and believe in well-deserved success
Psychologists admit that many people who have achieved serious heights, but at the same time seriously doubt that they deserve it, turn to them for help. The attack, called the impostor syndrome, does not spare anyone – either a university graduate who was lucky to get a high-paying job and an experienced professional who suddenly received a promotion can feel that she has no right to succeed.
Impostor Syndrome is an inadequate sense of (chronic) self-doubt, despite clear evidence to the contrary. No matter how smart and efficient such people are, they feel like cheaters, and evil beliefs gradually rob them of energy and motivation. They tend to think that achievement is the result of coincidence, and they are not good enough to move on, competing with others at a higher level. As a result, decadent attitudes sabotage the development of success.
The term “impostor syndrome” was promulgated in 1978 by American psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Ames, who discovered that many of their wards could not accept success, explaining their achievements by luck and the ability to pass for smart (s). This is not a diagnosis, but rather an obsessive mood that can manifest itself sporadically and almost never means a real lack of knowledge and skills. The opposite situation is more common: an incompetent person does not care about being incompetent.
Women in this sense are less fortunate – it is much easier for us to succumb to the impostor syndrome than for men. Carnegie Mellon University psychologists, for example, found out in detail the gender bias toward self-criticism that men demand higher wages four times more often than women and usually ask for a raise of 30% more.
All in all, if you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough, you are not alone. Objectively, there are millions of us, and harmful attitudes have stuck to us since childhood (hello to parents). Impostor Syndrome is often accompanied by perfectionism, and such a duo turns a person into a workaholic who is indifferent to career growth – a godsend for any boss. The good news is that you can try to change your perspective.
Here are five ways to let go of the belief that you’re not good enough:
1. Recognize your talents
Let’s say you are lucky enough to get a promotion because a coworker has moved to another city, but you are not starting from scratch and made it to that career stage thanks to your personal talent and experience. Do not associate success with luck, admit that you have genuine talents, otherwise you would not have what you have achieved.
Take a notebook and pen and write down your accomplishments and strengths in columns. Reread both lists regularly, especially when you’re feeling dull. Such a reminder helps to get rid of doubts that you are not good enough and motivates you to unleash your potential.
2. Share what you know with others
It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come and learned a lot – look for opportunities to remind yourself and others of the competency you’ve acquired. Don’t skimp on the knowledge you can share – sharing experiences, blogging, or mentoring will build confidence. In addition to the benefits for those around you, this approach maintains a passion for what you do so you don’t burn out.
3. Find out the relationship with yourself
When doubts arise about your own significance, do not ignore the symptoms, but try to understand the causes of their occurrence. Don’t trust negative self-talk – talk to yourself (not necessarily out loud) as a close friend. Look into the subconscious to find out from which spiritual hole the impostor syndrome is growing. And be kind to yourself – turn off the inner “strict parent”, beating off passes of self-criticism with something more compassionate.
4. Accept praise with pleasure.
People with impostor syndrome too often ignore kind words, devaluing personal success and achievements, as if not wanting to acknowledge them for themselves. Meanwhile, praise is the main weapon of motivation. When others recognize your work as outstanding, accept compliments with joy and without excuse, leaving a simple “thank you” in return.
And if, despite your best efforts, you still suffer from the insidious syndrome, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Self-distrust eats away at your nerves, which can lead to anxiety and depression. A competent psychotherapist will help you get rid of excessive self-criticism and build relationships with your own success.
5. Don’t be too serious
Changing classes changes your well-being. Do not forget to be distracted by your favorite things, hobbies and entertainment – give yourself permission to relax sometimes, so as not to take work and household tasks too seriously. Learn to enjoy the fruits of labor – once you get into the taste, you will make sure that you deserve everything you have.