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Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever heard of "Impostor Syndrome"? If not that is totally okay, on today's blog I am sharing some knowledge on what the syndrome entitles, some of the biggest challenges, and ways you can overcome it.


Let's start with a short definition, Imposter syndrome is:

"The idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications—was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes."

As many studies have proven, both women and men experience feelings of insecurity and the feeling of not being enough. This is a scary position to be facing, especially when you are starting a business or if you want to give your brand some exposure. But in reality, this syndrome is dangerous for anyone who is trying to grow personally and professionally. That is why, even if only a few symptoms start becoming too familiar and usual on us, we should change that right away.

Here are some of the syndrome's most prominent characteristics:

  • Self-doubt

  • An inability to realistically assess your competence and skills

  • Attributing your success to external factors

  • Berating your performance

  • Fear that you won't live up to expectations

  • Overachieving 

  • Sabotaging your own success

  • Setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short

What are some of the challenges?

Most people tend to ignore these symptoms and hide the syndrome with the excuse that they are feeling "extremely motivated" in achieving their desired goals. However, trying to make excuses for these type of behavior only increases the possibility of experiencing anxiety and stress. Recognizing that you are self-doubting your capabilities and achievements can become hard at times.

You can easily say you understand what you are capable of, but be demonstrating the exact opposite by trying to set challenging goals that are almost impossible to achieve. This cycle increases your chances of feeling disappointed and developing fears over how your efforts are not enough to take you to your desire goal.

At times, you can also fall in the habit of not recognizing that the success you achieved came solely from your efforts. Trying to find external factors that justify and explain the goals you have achieved can be tiring and draining.

If the cycle continues, you can even experience situations in which you recognize that everything you are achieving or handling comes from something else rather than your own abilities and strengths. With that being said, it is so important that you watch out for these behaviors and self-asses if you are possibly justifying some of your actions for what can be the impostor syndrome.

An article from the VeryWellMind, shares some questions you can ask yourself if you think you might be experiencing the imposter syndrome or you can share with someone else who you think should ask themselves these questions:

  • Do you agonize over even the smallest mistakes or flaws in your work?

  • Do you attribute your success to luck or outside factors?

  • Are you very sensitive to even constructive criticism?

  • Do you feel like you will inevitably be found out as a phony?

  • Do you downplay your own expertise, even in areas where you are genuinely more skilled than others?

How to overcome it?

You have already done one of the most difficult parts of the process and that is accepting that there is something odd in the way you view your success and achievements.

Talking with close friends or family memebers can help you. Sharing your feelings and fears with someone who can help you put things into perspective can be extremely helpful. At the same time, you can also talk with someone who has experienced the syndrome or experienced mentors who can reassure that what you are feeling is normal and that there are ways to overocme it.

Even when you are not ready to accept that you fit in with the characteristics it is always helpful to talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust.

Put your own thoughts and things that are dragging you down into perspective. It's okay to be scared or doubtful, but don't let those thoughts drive you. YOU are in control of your life and the decisions you make, and at times it is so easy to lose control of that idea.

Remember, just take a deep breath, write down some of the things that are making you feel anxious or stressed and ask yourself questions. Are those fears and doubts helping you in any way? Do you really believe that every success you have ever had comes out of luck or from external factors? Taking the time to meditate and put things into perspective can be extremely helpful.

Don't let those feelings stop you, even when you feel that it is taking over you don't let that stop you from achieving your goals. It's okay to take a break from dealing with it and thinking of something else. Because at times, fighting against it can be tiring, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. So, don't give up and always remember that your abilities and goals are SO much more than the feelings that are clouding your will.

Finally, don't compare yourself to others. It is common to think how others are not feeling the same insecurity and self-doubt that you are, but that should never be an indicator for you to think that you are indeed not enough or incompetent.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!

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