FEEL LIKE YOU ARE AN IMPOSTER? YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT.

It hits you without any reason… you don’t belong, you are living a lie and the world around you has been founded on the failings of others, everything you do isn’t good enough. You are an imposter within your own mind. 

Impostor syndrome refers to an internal experience of believing that you fail to make the grade in comparison to others, your surroundings or achievements. It is linked to comparison, perfectionism and the social environment in which you live or are linked.

Simply, imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like your life is nothing but founded on lies and deceit —you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud, like you don't belong where you are, and you only got there through the efforts of others or mysterious luck.

Is it true?

Yes, if you are thinking it then it is, but wait a few moments and you’ll be back track and it won’t be. While impostor syndrome is not a recognised disorder it is estimated that over 70% of adults will experience at least one short-lived episode within their life, with usual links to expectations from family or ‘significant’ life role models.

You are being the best version of you at any given time. Own it. 

Imposter syndrome can be a state that anyone can adopt and without any real validation or reason for the shift - unless you are consciously setting out to deceive. It can affect anyone no matter the social status, profession, wealth, health etc, so you are not alone. 

The term that was first used by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in the 1970’s. When the idea of imposter syndrome was introduced, it was originally thought to apply mostly to women within prominent social positions. Since then, it has been recognised as more widely experienced irrelevant of gender, race, sexuality or belief.

Do you have imposter syndrome? 

  • An inability to realistically assess your competence and skills, better or worse than peers,
  • Attributing your success to external factors such has family, financial situations, partnership or inherited success
  • Fears of failing to meet the expectations of others or pre-empting negative feedback,
  • Overachieving without the understanding why, a persistent self doubt,
  • Sabotaging your own success to level the playing field or fear of the unknown,
  • Disappointment in yourself despite the completion of intended achievements.

Impostor syndrome can fuel feelings of motivation to achieve but it can also lead to delusional acts, false starts and significant disappointment; an issue that I have with the bestselling book ‘The Secret’, and the concept of faking it until you make it.

WARNING.

There is little a doubt there are benefits in visualising your intended outcomes, it creates the roadmap to follow and can offer a significant boost to motivation, however; walking around in an Olympian’s Lycra Onesie when you’ve just started training for a 5km park run and morbidly obese is counterproductive to your successes – understand where you are, understand what you want then formulate a plan. 

Avoid the temptation to jump to far beyond the present; you’ll end up getting injured and worse yet relapse to a level of motivation several steps behind the starting point.

Imposter syndrome can appear in a number of different ways depending on the struggles that you are facing as a result. They are however widely placed into variants of the following categories.

Interesting Exercise.

TRY NOT TO LINK YOURSELF TO ONE OR ALL OF THESE RIGHT NOW!

Perfectionist: Perfectionists are never satisfied and always feel that their work could be better. Rather than focus on their strengths, they tend to fixate on any flaws or mistakes no matter how small, a small imperfection is seen as a failure on the whole despite the successes. This often leads to a great deal of self-pressure and high amounts of anxiety and stress.
Superhero: Because these individuals feel inadequate, they feel compelled to push themselves to work as hard as possible and will often lose track of the purpose behind the work, they will validate their output based on competition and often use ‘others’ as the reason for them doing what they do.
Expert: These individuals are always trying to learn more and are never satisfied with their level of understanding. Even though they are often highly skilled, they underrate their own expertise; there is a need to know more in order to be more.
Genius: These individuals set excessively lofty goals for themselves, and then feel crushed when they don't succeed on their first try. They would rather jump ship rather than to address the issues behind the failures, seeing failure in the system rather than the ability, or the ability to learn from their mistakes. 
Soloist: These people tend to be very individualistic and prefer to work alone. Self-worth often stems from their productivity, so they often reject offers of assistance. They tend to see asking for help as a sign of weakness or incompetence. They value their independence, ability to problem solve and become frustrated with people unable to meet the same standards.

So what if you linked yourself to one of these, are you an imposter? No, but it might be worth grabbing a pen and paper and working through the following questions to see what you can establish for betterment or change.

Answer the following;

What are my core beliefs and values (start with three of each and expand on the description, less than 100 words per belief and value).
Why am I worthy to be the best person I can and have what I want in my life? 
When is it okay to make mistakes? (A tip – the answer should start with ‘Always’ and then give the reason why it helps with growth and development. Note, it isn’t okay to always make a mistake that is a different statement).

 

So, what can you do if you are struggling at the moment and ‘feel’ yourself limited and restricted by your thoughts? 

Talk, Talk, Talk. These irrational beliefs tend to fester when they are hidden and not talked about.

Find A Role Model. While this might sound counterintuitive, find someone that you look up to and see how you might stabilise your thoughts.

Unlock Health & Fitness. I’m not going into the benefits of these within this article but if you aren’t, then now is the time to focus on improving your overall wellbeing.

Change. Change but not for change sake, all too often people jump ship and change millions of things at once, only to relapse shortly after. If you have identified something that you need to change then start with the easy bits and build upon that. 

Question Your Thoughts. Have you believed something to be true for the last 30 years? Question it. Sometimes our core beliefs and values are the very things that are holding us back. Been told you can’t run? Sign up to a 5km park run but avoid the lycra.

Stop Comparing. Every time you compare yourself to others in a social situation, you will find some fault with yourself that fuels the feeling of not being good enough or not belonging.

Use Social Media Moderately. Get off it for 2 weeks. Nothing more said here. 

Age isn’t an automatic right to competence.  

Stop fighting your feelings. Don't fight the feelings of not belonging, explore online groups or find an alternative interest; allowing yourself to open up to the fact that you do not know what you need. It is okay to start from the bottom and work your way up slowly – age isn’t an automatic right to competence. 

Thanks for listening; there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts, articles and videos out there, and every time you share, like and subscribe, you help me help more people. For more articles remember to visit the website BenjaminBonetti.com and if you think it is time, then take advantage of the introductory sessions that can be found on the booking page.

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