“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”Maya Angelou
I debated heavily what topic I would release this week (hence the late blog post) and after numerous self-debates, I kept returning to this topic- Imposter Syndrome. The first time I ever heard this term was last year and when I first heard it, I assumed the meaning was completely different. I truly thought that Imposter Syndrome meant that someone who suffers from this can appear as an imposter, only to find out, that this term means the complete opposite.
So, you ask, what is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome “can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success” (Overcoming Imposter Syndrome (hbr.org), Corkindale 2008). Any person who suffers from Imposter Syndrome may feel like a fraud, or may feel they are not competent enough to succeed nor worthy enough to enjoy said success.
Some common characteristics of Imposter Syndrome may include:
- Fear of not living up to expectations
- Inability to assess your competence and skills
- Crediting your success to external factors
Ever since starting my blog back up this year, while pushing myself to remain consistent with one blog post per week, I find myself struggling with Imposter Syndrome.
If I am being completely transparent, I often wonder if I am good enough. I compare myself to other bloggers, witnessing their success and defining my own failures because of it. I often wonder if others look at me as a fraud. I downplay my success, feeling like I should do more. Be better. Be more successful. I seek validation from others and when I do not receive it, I start to engage in negative self-talk. And while trying to combat these feelings, I have been struggling to stay motivated and inspired. Part of me wants to throw the towel in. However, those who know me, know that I am far from a quitter. I am way too stubborn.
Instead, I aim to combat these feelings. Here’s how:
Break the Silence.
Let’s admit it. Shame will have us all feeling like we cannot openly admit when we are struggling with certain feelings of failure, frustration, or even sadness. Suffering from Imposter Syndrome may bring you feelings of shame, but I can assure you, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Tell a loved one how you are feeling. Be open and honest about these feelings. Acknowledge them and write them down in a journal. Just don’t bury these feelings and let them fester.
Feelings vs. Fact
Are negative feelings consuming you so much that you are starting to believe that these feelings are true? Stop. Breathe. Reevaluate. Often, we allow our emotions to cloud our logic and judgement. Recognize that these feelings are just what they are, feelings, and they do not define your characteristics, skills, or performance.
Progress vs. The ‘Big Picture’
Place your focus on how far you have come. Often, we look at the end goal and feel frustrated that we have not achieved this yet. This can also feel overwhelming as the end goal may seem too ‘big’ or complicated to achieve. Rather than focusing on the big picture, focus on the progress you have made, and the success achieved along the way. Remember, progress over perfection.
Failure should be looked at as a gift, rather than a loss or punishment. Each time we fail, we are given an opportunity to learn from those mistakes, re-strategize, and come back even better! Learn how to celebrate your failure instead of beating yourself up. Growth and evolution are on the other side.
Be Kind to Yourself.
Be your own biggest cheerleader and stop seeking validation from others. Give yourself a pat on the back for all the wins, practice patience and grace when struggling with feelings of failure and inadequacy, and continuously pour love into yourself for the will to keep going. You could give up, but you didn’t and that is a reward in itself.
Imposter Syndrome is widespread; it can affect anyone at any given time. If you have been struggling with Imposter Syndrome, I hope you find these tips helpful and feel motivated to combat your own personal feelings of self-doubt. And know that you are doing just fine and more than enough. Sending so much love to you all!
Do you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? What are some ways you combat these feelings? I would love to hear from you all! This is a safe place.