I’ll be completely honest and say I didn’t want to write this post. I felt like I wasn’t really qualified or wouldn’t be able to talk about it as well as others have or could. Then the dawning realisation hit me. I am feeling imposter syndrome about writing a post about imposter syndrome. Irony or what!
Imposter syndrome is a term used to describe successful people who have a fear of being exposed as frauds. They don’t believe they are responsible for their success. They believe their success came from things such as good timing and luck. Emma Watson, after she finished filming in the Harry Potter series lost complete faith in her own acting abilities. In an interview, she said “Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am.” This is the epitome of imposter syndrome.
It happens to a lot of people and it’s important to try and counteract it before it causes you to hold yourself back and missing out on opportunities.
Here’s what you can do to stop it taking over.
KEEP A DIARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
If you keep a track of everything you accomplish, whenever you are feeling like an imposter you can look at the list and see everything you have done to get to where you are. I do this with goal setting. I always a have a to-do list to try and focus myself. Then when I start feeling out of my depth, I can look back and see everything I’ve done to get to where I am
CALL IT OUT
Tell a friend you think you have imposter syndrome. Tell yourself in the mirror! Just get it voiced out into the open and then think about everything you’ve done. Make the fact that you have imposter syndrome ridiculous! You! You who has done so much to get to where you are! If you tell the right person that is what they will tell you.
What do you think would have happened if Emma Watson told her friends that she thought she was a terrible actor? Chances are they would have laughed in her face. And rightly so! It seems like such a ridiculous thing for someone so successful to think. So getting it out in the open and seeing it as laughable is good, it helps get things in perspective.
Ask yourself what will happen if you fail. Realistically what will actually happen if someone asks about what you know. And always be optimistic about this. I wanted to start this blog but for about a year before I finally begun work on it. I kept convincing myself of all the terrible things that might happen. Eventually, I managed to reason with myself that the worse outcomes were that no one would read it or like it (the only victim there would be my ego). Aside from that, I would be able to collect my thoughts and clearly define all the things that help me reduce stress. I would learn about setting up a website. Even if one person reads it and learns something to apply in their own life then it’s a victory. So I decided I could set aside the possible bruising of my ego for all the great things that could come. And I’m so glad I did because of all the wonderful things I have learned so far!
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
Say you’re going for a job interview. Like clockwork, the doubt starts trickling in. What if there is someone better than me? What if I can’t answer the questions?
Go in pretending to be the person they’re looking for. Go in as the person who has all the answers that they couldn’t possibly say no to! You are awesome, charismatic and they couldn’t possibly resist your charm. If you pretend to be this person all the way through you will likely have a lot more success than the person who went in convinced they’d fail! And if things don’t work out, learn from it.
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE BETTER
What you see and hear isn’t the whole story. Everyone is just pretending they know what’s happening! So don’t stop because someone else is “better”. If you always compare yourself to others you will always find someone who has done more or achieved more. You can’t sit around wishing you’d achieved as much as Mark Zuckerburg by the age of 25. You have to go out and start doing! No one got to the top without years of hard work. Years of knuckling down learning, failing and trying again.
Remember, no one else can think your thoughts or take your actions.
The world needs you to go for it because no one else can do what you can. People can do similar things, they can copy what you do, but no one is you. So we need you to take action and start getting things done! Without your voice how will anyone be able to hear your thoughts!
If you know someone who might be suffering from imposter syndrome please share this with them!