Do you ever feel stuck. Like everyone around you is moving forward in their life, their careers, their relationships, their social life… and you’re just stagnant at the same stage you’ve been in for ages? One of the possible causes for this comes in the form of extreme self-doubt or something known as imposter syndrome.
Wikipedia has this to say about it: Impostor syndrome is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon do not believe they deserve their success or luck.
In other words, you simply cannot move forward because you do not believe that you are deserving of the next stage. Whether you’ve got the degree, or had the experience, you believe that others are more deserving and you’re just fooling everyone around you — to the point that you’re afraid you’ll be found out.
One of the ways to combat imposter syndrome is to bury it with evidence. Lists help here. Take a piece of paper, or open a notepad on your phone/computer and start a list, marking down all the things you’ve done successfully in your day, your week, your year, the past 5 years. These successes are your evidence to the contrary — you are not an imposter, you truly have earned your position and you are deserving of all the rewards that come with this stage of life.
Another good way to help someone overcome imposter syndrome is to gather with a group of like-minded individuals. Whether in a formal or casual setting, interacting with other people who also experience this doubt can help one to realize that they are not alone, that many (many!) other people also suffer from this affliction. In the group, or privately one-on-one afterwards, it can be a good idea to share some of the tips and tricks that different people use to get through their day with this sensation.
Affirmations are also a good tactic to attack these feelings of self-doubt and incapability. Rather than telling yourself over and over again that you’re not prepared, that you’re going to fail the test, that you’ll never do as good as others, instead tell yourself the opposite — I have studied hard for this test, I will do well on this report, I am just as capable as anyone else to write this exam. By re-writing the script in your head you take power over the narrative and change your focus.
Individuals who experience imposter syndrome are often inundated by their doubts about themselves day in and day out. There is a running monologue in their head about all the ways they are not good enough. Saying “well, just flip the script!” may sound simple to someone who doesn’t have this problem, however to the people afflicted, the solution isn’t so easy. But practice helps! Choosing your mindset and pushing it towards affirmations rather than negative self-talk takes a LOT of practice. Your rumination on all the ways you’ve failed in the past seems to come as second nature, it’s right there in your mind and you feel like you can’t change it. Only, you can! Only you can.
At first it might sound something like this: “I am going to fail. I am going to, no, wait, I am going to do well. I am going to fa—do well. I am going to do well. I will do well on this exam.” You’ll need to catch yourself at every thought. But the more you re-write the script, the less often you’ll have to. Eventually it will seem like second nature to think the positive and you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done before!
If you’re still at the stuck phase, feel free to drop me a line, I’d love the opportunity to work with you on affirmations and anything else you might want some support with!