Imposter syndrome has been coming into my awareness a lot recently. This is something that I've struggled with for as long as I can remember, so I figured it was time I share my experiences and its affect on me.
Even when I was growing up I used to feel like an imposter but back then it was about being an imposter in my group of friends. I would say that I was on the edge of the "cool group" at school, which often left me feeling like I was going to be '=found out, that people would discover I wasn't cool and didn't belong in that circle.
As I've gotten older the feelings of imposter syndrome have been based on my career. I often feel like I am a fraud, that someone is going to trip me up and find out that I'm 'faking it till I make it', but don't we all do this?
My logical mind says this is ridiculous - I've worked in my chosen career for over 10 years and have worked with lots of happy clients over the years and been able to deliver results to them. But we don't always live in the logical mind.
Generally imposter syndrome comes about for me a couple of times a year, and usually because I'm really stretching myself outside of my comfort zone in my work. When I'm in this stretch zone I'm more likely to experience some failure, and these failures can start to accumulate and spiral me into feeling like a complete fraud that is going to get found out.
Of course when you also experience mental health difficulties, bouts of imposter syndrome can throw your mental wellbeing off too. Feelings of anxiety and panic naturally tend to come on for me when I am feeling like a failure, a fraud, an imposter, like I provide no value etc etc.
How do I get through it? There's no silver bullet, but some of the things I do are;
- Turn off the inner critic and turn on the positive self affirmations
- Go back to doing some tasks that I know I can achieve and feel good about
- Remind myself not to try and eat the elephant in one bite - breaking thing down into small manageable tasks that don't overwhelm me
- Talk to people around me who understand and can be a good sounding board
- Remember that this too will pass