What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do your insides match what’s on the outside?
Do you feel more empowered than your outward image projects? Or are you plagued with the feeling that no matter how great your accomplishments you have what is known as impostor syndrome?
8_-_200_Ironically, impostor syndrome is frequently experienced by high achievers. Men and women who, for all outward appearances, should have all the self confidence in the world. Yet, no matter how much they accomplish they feel like a fraud.
Rather than taking credit for hard work resulting in a successful outcome, those with impostor syndrome will dismiss the success as a lucky break or good timing.
Regardless of their level of accomplishment, those with impostor syndrome dread being found out as incompetent and liars. They live in a high level of fear.
Often, their fear is based on one’s own perception of who they believe they are (or are not) rather than the truth of who they are. Even when others tell them how accomplished they are, they are convinced otherwise.
In the past, impostor syndrome was primarily experienced by men. Today, high achieving women suffer equally as much as men.
In the years I’ve been consulting with entrepreneurs, I’ve had several clients who have dealt with impostor syndrome. In virtually every case, I saw my clients in a much different light than they saw themselves. With some focused effort we were able to shift their perception of themselves and get their insides matching much closer to their outsides.
Once they got to this point, they enjoyed their careers much more. Equally important, they took less stress and anxiety into their personal life.
So what can be done to minimize the “stop you in your tracks” feelings that the impostor syndrome can trigger?
1. First, admit that you are human. Many who are afflicted with impostor syndrome are perfectionists. Regardless of where the need to do things perfectly started, it obviously has gotten out of control and is counterproductive.
2. Create a success journal. Regardless of how big or small your accomplishments, write them down. Add as much detail as necessary for you to see that you have accomplished some amazing things. An accomplishment might be getting a long overdue phone call done. It might be you delivered an amazing interview.
3. Find a great support group of friends and colleagues who will raise you up when you put yourself down. It’s not that they’ll baby you. Actually, just the opposite. They will pull your covers when you need it and comfort you when appropriate.
4. Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. Those with “out of control” impostor syndrome live with a great deal of anxiety and fear.  Take a look at what you’re really afraid of. Is it justified or could it be that you’re so used to feeling like an impostor, it’s simply become a behavior you’re used to?
5. Have the willingness to be willing to change a behavior that is not serving you.
6. Keep a gratitude journal. It’s amazing how powerful an attitude of gratitude can be to diminish the impostor syndrome monster.
You may find your stress, anxiety and perfectionism diminish by taking steps to see yourself as you really are; an accomplished human being.
What’s been your experience with either yourself or others dealing with impostor syndrome? Comments welcomed and encouraged.