Worried that people are going to find out that you don’t know as much as should about your profession? Anxious that you’re not as good as you think you are, and that everyone will realize it soon? Feel like a fraud at work?
You’re not alone. A large percentage of accomplished professionals have experienced these feelings of inadequacy at one time or another. The phenomenon was given a name in the 1970s - Imposter Syndrome – and was applied to the concerns of women. Now we understand it can be experienced by both men and women.
These days working remotely has caused us to feel isolated. Isolation can cause impostor syndrome to flourish.
Imposter syndrome is defined by the Harvard Business Review as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success”.
If you’ve been feeling like an imposter, you are not alone. Did you know that noteworthy high achievers Academy-award winner Tom Hanks, best-selling author Neil Gaiman and business leader Sheryl Sandberg have struggled with the impostor syndrome?
The great news - there is help in the form of coping strategies to overcome this gremlin from ruling you. Coming up, we will be exploring information that will help you transform into more growth and success in your life. Before we do that, let’s take a look at why it is so important to deal with it.
Having confidence in the quality of your work is a basic necessity for you to be an effective manager. If you’re not sure that you are on the right track, or if you think your team is questioning your ability to lead, making decisions will become more difficult. Feeling like a phony at work will undermine your interactions on the job.
Understanding what has been causing you to experience doubt is an important step to restoring your positive feelings about yourself. You need to expose the reasons why you have viewed yourself as an imposter and then address them so that you can feel confident holding the reins.
Begin by answering the following four self-assessment questions that can help you expose what is making you feel uneasy as well as analyze the triggers that are causing you to feel uncomfortable about your success:
1. What are the roots of your uncertainty?
2. If you’ve just taken on new responsibilities, how prepared do you feel?
3. Are you convinced that luck is the only reason you’re climbing the corporate ladder?
4. How much of a perfectionist are you and have you set goals that are unachievable?
Paul Larsen, author of “Find Your Voice as a Leader” outlines 6 Steps to Harness Your Inner Imposter:
1. Understand it is a common occurrence and you are in good company since up to 75% of successful leaders and entrepreneurs have admitted to experiencing Imposter Syndrome at some point in their career.
2. Understand that it is originating from your own DNA…and you are the author of it...it is not coming from other sources or other people.
3. Connect to your past accomplishments, your past triumphs, your past learnings, your past legacy. Write your success story...what has gotten you to this place...this time...this role on this day? It is not luck or fate, but deliberate steps you have taken that have made you.
4. Connect to your future vision, your future purpose, your future goals/outcomes, your future potential. Author a compelling future vision of yourself by painting a realistic picture of what success would look like, feel like, etc. (Imposter Syndrome lives in the present hence why we want to "connect the past + future so that we do not ignore the present but use it as a stepping stone from our past to our future.)
5. Harness your past + future legacies to create your 3 Anchors of your Present Success. Create a triangle with 3 points and label each point with an attribute/trait/skill that you do well, that you are recognized for. What makes you successful in the present?
6. Harness your 3 Anchors to continue to move forward, get unstuck, finesse your triggers when they arise, and use it all for building a confident and convincing leadership brand. Use your 3 Anchors to bring awareness of what you have done in the past to be successful, what you do in the present to remain successful, and what you need to do in the future to be successful.
Debrief the Activity. What was it like moving through the 6 steps? What behaviors will you START, STOP, or CONTINUE to do?
This is the time to reclaim and reconnect with your true self and let go of the imposter syndrome dragon that has been paralyzing you. Start today to accept, embrace your capabilities and shine your light!
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Mariam is a freelance writer offering support for businesses & entrepreneurs locally and globally. She brings a significant amount of experience in the corporate marketing industry and as a freelancer in content management, internet research, blogging, article writing, copy editing, and proofreading.
Her mission is to empower business owners to produce content that clearly and authentically communicates with their target audiences, ultimately making lives less stressful as well as allowing for more free time to live more well-balanced and healthier lives.