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Imposter Syndrome and what to do about it.

 Did you know that according to statistics up to 70% of people suffer from imposter syndrome  at some point in their career. Imposter Syndrome is a term that describes someone who feels they aren't as capable as others think and fear they'll be exposed as a fraud. It's not an actual mental health condition, but suffering from it can affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

The inability to believe that your success is not deserved, or is not legitimately achieved as a result of your own efforts,  can be a toxic negative force on your ability to perform well. It contributes towards increased anxiety, depression, less risk taking and career burnout.

But how do you know that you are suffering from it?

Well, these are some of the most typical symptoms: 

  • Holding back from attainable goals
  • Downplaying accomplishments 
  • Feeling that overworking is the only way you will meet expectations
  • Unable to take compliments or positive recognition
  • Persistently overplay mistakes
  • Feeling unworthy
  • Fear of being seen as a failure

Setting personal expectations that are too high is usually the key cause of the syndrome and carrying these internal pressures become a burden . Stress and anxiety can build and before you know it your fear of failure is making you fail! 

Perhaps it’s time to realise, that as hard as it is, making mistakes and dealing with failure is a key part of you working out how to be better at what you do.

But how do you overcome imposter syndrome? Here are some tactics, that can be a great way to help:

  1. Research the subject to build your understanding of what is happening to you. There are many books, podcasts, videos and blogs on the subject. By seeing how common this is and by learning about the syndrome and its symptoms makes you feel more knowledgeable as to how to beat it. 
  2. Turn your list of goals into milestones on a timeline. This helps you see what’s realistic, plan better and maintain a sense of perspective on what good progress looks like. 
  3. Keep a record of your career path up to date. By tracking your key achievements and the skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience that you have gained along the way help you to appreciate what you do know, why you are where you are and what's next to learn. 
  4. Create your own coping mechanisms. Finding tactics that work in the heat of the moment will give you the confidence and the ability to trust your intuition that you can embrace every learning experience that life presents you with. This may be things like pressing pause for an hour to move away from your desk and reframe your thoughts. Taking a power nap or going for a walk. Shifting your physical state helps shift your mental state.
  5. Let go of perfectionism. You don't have to lower the bar, but adjusting your standards might take some of the strain away and  help you keep perspective. 
  6. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone who cares. Explaining what you are going through and describing these fears can give you a better perspective and opens you up to help and support to help you get through the most difficult times.

Coaching is a great outlet for this. Fully trained coaches don’t judge. What they do is support you through any change by helping you see different perspectives. They boost your confidence by tapping into your purpose.

Your purpose is made up of the core motivating aims of your life, the reason you get up in the morning. Purpose can guide your life and work decisions, influence your behaviour, shape your goals, offer a sense of direction and create meaning to what you do.

Knowing your purpose is linked to finding your own level of happiness and success. That's a much better place to be rather than trying to live up to other peoples expectations. Get this right and your mind moves from feeling like a fraud to feeling confident in your own abilities.

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