Do you ever get that niggling feeling that you’re going to be exposed as a complete fraud in the job you do? Are you a ‘normal’ person in relatively ‘normal’ job who has an impending sense of doom that you’re going to be exposed for the fraud you really are? Whether you feel like you’re not qualified enough, good enough or winging your way through life: it’s time to change your thinking. If you’re a spy, or an undercover detective however, you can resume business as normal, this articles not for you.
1) Case study yourself
Whenever you’re feeling extra fraudulent, take a look back into the ‘case study’ of your career. Remind yourself of your successes and experiences. You actually know what you’re talking about, believe it or not! It can even be useful to keep a physical file of these things – collect peoples comments, emails and testimonials. This way, you’ll never forget how good you actually are. If you need reminders, go ahead and ask people around you what they think.
2) Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides
Comparing yourself to others is where impostor syndrome begins! It’s most definitely easier said than done, but if you’re able to avoid comparing yourself to others you’ll feel much better for it. TOP TIP: Stop reading the biographies of successful people.
— Lili Millar (@lili_millar) February 17, 2015
3) Perfection ain’t real
Constantly striving for perfection is both tiring and a strain on your mental health. Perfection doesn’t exist – you’re chasing something you’ll never catch. Instead, work on improving parts of you that already exist. Focus on the value you bring already.
4) Talk it out
If you feel like a genuine fraudster – why not ‘out’ yourself to your colleagues and friends and let them know how you feel. Talking about situations at work (and life in general!) often makes them easier to figure out than if you were to handle them alone. A problem shared is a problem halved.
5) Forget the fear of looking foolish
Sometimes, the fear of looking foolish can stop you from taking the actions you need to reach an end goal. It’s a ridiculous and irrational fear to have, but it’s one that we all share at some point in our lives. When you’re worried about doing something because you’re nervous you’ll look foolish, it’s important to recognise this feeling and work on it. If you can recognise your irrational thoughts it’s easier to handle them.
“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find [me] out now,'”- Maya Angelou.
6) Own it
Sometimes, when you practice something for so long it can work its way into your daily life. Something that is pretty useful to be fraudulent about is your confidence. If you enter a situation and ‘pretend’ your confident, it’s going to come across well, and in the end, you’ll be a little more confident than you were before. Do this multiple times and you’ll actually find your confidence levels improving.
7) Learn, learn, learn
Impostor syndrome is sometimes a product of low confidence in your work. Keep on top of your game by diving in to as many learning experiences as you can. Attend conferences, sign up to evening courses or simply read a new book. This will keep you on the ball!
Everyone feels the effects of impostor syndrome at one point or another in their life. The trick is to recognise and work on overcoming it. Do you have any tips on overcoming impostor syndrome? Let us know in the comments below.
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