Whether you persistently attribute your successes to external forces, like luck, or often have a strong feeling that other people are overestimating your abilities, it is very likely that you are one of the 70% of people who, at one stage or another in their lives, experience imposter syndrome.
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
But what does imposter syndrome look like?
Regardless of how successfully you are actually navigating your life, if you experience imposter syndrome, you are likely to hold false beliefs about how smart or capable you really are. Those who experience imposter syndrome are more likely to hold false beliefs about how smart or capable they really are, regardless of how successfully they are navigating their personal and professional journeys.
Crucially, you are likely to believe that you are unqualified in comparison to those around you and that you have to overwork yourself to achieve the impossible standards you set for yourself.
Interestingly, it is usually the perfectionists and the high achievers that are most likely to feel like imposters. Moreover, more women suffer from imposter syndrome than men, as studies have found that men are more likely to exaggerate and overestimate their abilities, whilst women more frequently undervalue themselves.
Believe it or not, even Albert Einstein suffered from imposter syndrome, confessing to a friend that he felt like an “involuntary swindler,” for receiving more attention than he believed he deserved for his research.
And what’s more, imposter syndrome affects more than your studies and career, influencing parenting and romantic relationships, where a person might feel unworthy of affection, or incapable of being a good parent.
Therefore, be reassured by the knowledge that you aren't alone, as even some of the greatest figures of our time suffered from imposter syndrome!
So if you feel like a fraud, devalue your worth a lot or undermine your talents and successes, read on to find out how these three tips can help you overcome imposter syndrome and learn to believe in yourself more.
How to overcome imposter syndrome
1. Positive self-talk
Research has revealed that the way you speak to yourself, or ‘self-talk,’ can change the way you see yourself, so practice using self-affirmations, and notice how they begin to boost your confidence and alter your negative perception of yourself.
And whilst you’re at it, try adding your name to these affirmations, as research has found that including your name can have a very strong impact on the way in which you perceive yourself.
2. Collect your successes
It’s a lot easier to hold onto the criticisms we receive, but properly appreciating positive feedback, and allowing yourself to revisit it in moments of self-doubt, is an excellent way to combat imposter syndrome.
So, perhaps it’s time to start writing an affirmation journal, in order to record your day-to-day achievements, compliments and victories. You don’t know when it might help you to re-read them.
3. Talk to someone
The best way to get out of the vicious cycle of self-doubt is to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
Opening up to a close friend or family member about your imposter syndrome can help provide you with relief from your self-doubt, as those around you can reassure you or confess similar emotions, helping you to separate feelings from facts.
So stop comparing yourself to others, and learn to open up about your doubts. You’ll find that most people are too busy worrying about how they are performing to pay much attention to your failures.
Self-doubt can truly be paralysing. Overcoming imposter syndrome starts with recognising your feelings, and working to step outside the imposter cycle, to build your confidence and positivity. Challenge your assumptions, and look at the facts, not the incorrect fiction you’ve created about yourself. Remember that imposter syndrome is universal, so you aren’t alone in experiencing these feelings.
And be kinder to yourself. Life is full of obstacles, don’t turn yourself into one.
Caroline Winter is a current MA student in Creative Writing, based in London. She has experience working as an editor, translator, and writer on a series of different projects and topics.
She is excited to be collaborating alongside The Industry Leaders as a content creator, and can be found on LinkedIn.