Do you feel like a fraud? Are you unable to own your success? You may be accomplished, yet you do not feel as competent as people think you are.
You are not alone… 70% of people at one point or the other, experience such feelings in their lives.
Are these feelings normal? In some cases, yes.
But not, when it persists despite clear evidence that you are capable, competent, and deserving of every accolade attributed to your accomplishment.
You might be experiencing Impostor Syndrome.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
According to Health Line, it is “feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments”.
This phenomenon was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., and Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D. Noted from clinical observations made during therapeutic sessions with high-achieving women.
They noted that these women felt they were intellectual frauds despite their apparent accomplishments. They feared being seen as impostors.
Since then the impostor phenomenon became attributed to high-achieving women, who could not own their success.
Recent studies have shown, however, that this phenomenon is not limited to women alone. Men can also experience this feeling of self-doubt.
Is Impostor Syndrome A Psychological Problem?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychologists consider Impostor Syndrome as a “real and specific form of self-doubt”.
Although, it is not officially listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a disorder.
The importance of understanding Impostor Syndrome
You should understand this syndrome because it is a condition that adversely impacts your productivity and your financial well-being.
How Can Impostor Syndrome Affect Your Income
This condition can cost you money. Studies have shown that your productivity, mental well-being, and social function can be impaired as a result of impostor syndrome.
You have feelings of anxiety, low-esteem, and depression associated with it.
Your income-earning ability can be adversely affected by these mental health disorders, leading to poor financial outcomes.
You may ask, “How do I know if I have Impostor Syndrome?” There are signs.
How To Know If You Have Impostor Syndrome
Conditions commonly associated with Impostor Syndrome are;
– persistent self-doubt,
– a sense of inadequacy,
– unusual anxiety when your work is to be evaluated,
– attributing your achievements to luck,
– playing down your accomplishments as not being unique,
– finding it difficult to accept compliments,
– feeling your accolades are undeserved,
– thinking your achievements will not measure up under scrutiny,
– sustained anxiety leading to depression if unchecked,
– comparing your outcomes with the achievement of others,
– believing that failure is not an option,
– feeling uncomfortable acknowledging your success,
– looking at failure as a reflection of your self-worth.
Root Cause of Impostor Syndrome
For a woman
It is likely your childhood upbringing, the cultural paradigm, and inherent gender bias could intensify the feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome.
For a man
Your financial circumstances or past failures could lead to such feelings of inadequacy.
In professional settings
The corporate systems in your workplace and social perception of roles could be an underlying cause.
If you discover you have Impostor Syndrome, how do you stop it from limiting your earning potential?
How To Stop Impostor Syndrome
The simple answer would have been to treat it, and everything will be okay. However, it is not as simple as that.
Currently, there is no established treatment for this condition, and it is not formally codified as a mental health disorder.
It is, however, real with debilitating consequences if not faced squarely.
Therefore, how can you address it?
3 Steps To Stop Impostor Syndrome from Limiting Your Income
The condition is tagged as “Syndrome”. This means a group of symptoms that appear together and produce a condition.
Address the root cause and stop the symptoms from manifesting as a disorder. The problem is more in the flawed mindset created in you by these likely root causes than in the root cause itself. As a result symptoms are triggered in certain situations due to misinterpretations of your abilities by your mind despite evidence to the contrary.
Therefore, to encourage a correct interpretation of your abilities and prevent the manifestation of Impostor Syndrome, you can take these 3 steps;
1. STEP ONE: Reaffirm who you are
Bring out your resume, certificates, awards, laurels, and every evidence of your accomplishments. Lay them out before you and go through each of them. Read the words, assimilate the congratulatory tone, visualize the event, and relive the emotions you felt as you collected each certificate, letter, or prize. Then…
2. STEP TWO: Internalize who you are holistically
Permit yourself to accept who you are. Tell yourself it is a good thing to be the accomplished YOU. State out loud that your accomplishments allow you to add value to your life, and the lives of others. So, it is good being the competent, hard-working, accomplished YOU. You should know that if you think otherwise you are selling yourself short. So tell yourself that who you are is legitimate, honorable, and true. After which you…
3. STEP THREE: Reframe your mind & Take action
Take a piece of paper and describe the kind of person you will like to be. Also, write boldly about how you will like to be remembered. Then craft your mission in life, and state what you will need in terms of abilities to achieve this mission. Write down the educational qualifications, resources, and activities that will help you accomplish that mission. Then compare your write-up with the records of your actual achievements.
You will notice that your current accomplishments mirror to a large extent what you have written down. You will realize that you have unconsciously moved in the direction of your mission. This realization will validate your life and tell you that you’re not an impostor but the real deal.
It will confirm to you that it is in your DNA to do what you do. So you are not a fraud. Take action, step out in confidence and continue to be the YOU that makes a difference.
When you reframe your mind you see your accomplishments through the correct lens. You are not a fraud. You are as accomplished, and competent as people think you are.
Own your success. Don’t attribute any failure to your self-worth instead use it as a learning experience.
Accept that all humans are fallible, including you. Therefore, lift your head and recognize that no one is perfect. Learn to remove pressure from yourself.
Don’t get fixated on perfection but focus on being effective. Own your success and be self-confident about it. You can also read my post on How to Speak with Self-Confidence and Sell Your Expertise.
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