What is Imposter Syndrome and how to defeat it

Have you ever experienced not feeling good enough for your work or not capable enough for it? What about the times when someone praises your job or your talents, instead of feeling proud, you feel a little bit embarrassed or uncomfortable? These feelings you are experiencing have a name, and it is called “Impostor Syndrome”.

What is “Impostor Syndrome”? According to experts, it is the feeling of not being as capable, competitive, or talented as others perceive you to be.

People that experience this, tend to feel like their achievements are a result of their luck, instead of their talent and abilities and they are constantly afraid that someday people will find out that, even though it’s not true.

Another definition, according to psychologist Audrey Ervin is that it’s a condition that affects anyone “who isn’t able to internalize and own their successes.”

If you’ve ever felt this way, don’t’ worry! You are not alone! Most people experience this at a certain point in their lives, and it’s not only related to professional success, it can also happen in your personal life or in your social life.

What can you do to overcome impostor syndrome?

1.Stop comparing yourself to others

Have you ever heard that comparison is the thief of joy? Well, it is 100% true, and every time you compare yourself to your friends, your coworkers, or people with similar careers as yours, you focus on what you don’t have instead of what you have and you can achieve.

Comparing yourself to others is exhausting and you will always feel like you are not good enough or you are not there yet.

Instead, compare yourself to the person you were six months ago, one year ago or even, the person you were when you started your career. You will see how much you’ve changed and how much you’ve evolved. Focus on your progress and your achieved goals.

2. Write it down!

Writing down your goals, desires, and thoughts it’s a good practice in order to clear your mind and have a better perspective on everything.

If you are feeling like you are not good enough, write a list of goals and achievements you’ve had over the last two years. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, write a list of things you think make you unique and special.

3. Talk about it

It sounds really simple, but it’s harder than it looks. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about their feelings with a friend, family or colleague, and opening yourself out to them can be overwhelming, however, talking things out and saying them aloud, helps you understand a bit more what you are feeling and sometimes you can even realize that everything is not as bad as it seems, and most of the problems are in your head and are related with the perception you have about yourself.

4. Start using positive affirmations

Sometimes you just need a reminder of how amazing, capable, and talented you are to actually start believing it, and here’s when affirmations work perfectly.

Write down encouraging messages from yourself to yourself and put them in visible places like your bathroom mirror, the corkboard at your desk, or even your fridge. It might feel a little silly at first, but you’ll realize that when you start seeing those messages everywhere, your brain will think they are true.

5. Accept your failures

Failure is hard, especially when you are a perfectionist dealing with impostor syndrome, but failing and making mistakes it’s part of being a human being, and it’s the perfect opportunity to transform them into valuable lessons that you have to learn in order to take yourself to the next level in life.

Don’t be so hard on yourself! Realize you made a mistake, think what can you do to fix it if it’s possible and if not, take it as a lesson and move on. 

6. Brag a little bit

You don’t have to become the kind of person that is always showing themselves off, but once in a while, sharing something relevant about you, your work or your life can give you that confidence boost you need in order to feel better about what you do, your talent and your activities.

If someone gives you a compliment, instead of saying something like “it’s not a big deal, it was something small, etc.” say “thank you, I worked hard for this”. Give yourself some acknowledgment.

7. Go to therapy

If you have tried everything else and you still feel like you are a fraud, you can always go to therapy or talk with a professional related to mental health. Sometimes you might need a little bit of help in order to become a better version of yourself and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s time to start normalizing it and recognizing that sometimes it is what you need.