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How to Deal with Impostor Syndrome

You know that feeling you get when someone hires you or patronizes your business out of over hundreds and thousands of people…

But you are scared they will discover you cannot deliver or that you’re not as great as they think you are?

Instead of being happy and excited that you got the job or opportunity, you’re scared something will go wrong and they will realize they chose the wrong person or you’re scared you’d make the same mistakes you made in the past when someone trusted you to take on a similar role.

Well, that feeling is quite common.

A study showed that about 7 or 8 out of 10 adults have experienced impostor syndrome and there is a backstory.

Originally, impostor syndrome was detected in ambitious and high achieving women back in the day, who felt belittled and inadequate regardless of how skilled and talented they were because the society (at the time and probably even now) made it feel like it was strange and unreasonable for a woman to do well.

This resulted in these women doubting themselves and constantly putting themselves down or talking about their abilities lesser than their male counterparts because they didn’t want to be seen as doing too much or because they felt like sooner or later they will go back to what they were believed to be, “Small, untalented, and beneath.”

This was the case for many years but now times have changed. In this day and time, women are not the only ones going through impostor syndrome. 

Everyone in the society now has a fair share of impostor syndrome.

Psychologist Susan Albers says and I paraphrase “Impostor syndrome is a belief that everyone else has got life figured out and they know what they’re doing, except you.”

This feeling can stem from years of constantly disappointing yourself, disappointing people who believed in you, years of rejections, or years of losing vital opportunities due to laziness and indiscipline.

A Story

While I waited for freelance gigs and opportunities, I got many rejections and many NOs.

There was a particular gig I really wanted and I was looking forward to but at the end of the day it didn’t work out.

Slowly, these rejections started creeping into my mind and they made me feel less than I was. 

I started feeling like I was not good enough and it became hard to talk about my work like I usually did.

When I finally got a gig, I was not as excited as I thought I would be. I was just asking “Why me?”

“Why did they choose me? Can I do this? Hope I won’t disappoint them? They seem to like me. Hope I won’t disappoint them?”

But I had to deal with it because it could start as a harmless thought but could end up affecting the way I work and the way I see myself.

And in this post, I will be helping you see ways to deal with impostor syndrome. But first, let’s see how it can affect your life.

Here are ways Impostor Syndrome can affect your life:

How Impostor Syndrome can affect your life

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These are ways impostor syndrome can affect your life, career, business, and your growth:

  • Low self esteem

Low self esteem sometimes comes from impostor syndrome. It is a feeling of incompetence and a lack of confidence in your abilities.

When you have impostor syndrome you will always feel like you can’t do as much as you claim or as much as people say you can do.

Even when you’re doing so well, you’ll still talk down on your skills and attribute it to other things like sheer luck.

People will see your talents and skills but they will look down on you because you’re doing the same to yourself. 

  • Fear of doing something new

This is one common effect of impostor syndrome. It keeps you from trying something new or taking risks.

It makes you feel like whatever you do will eventually fall apart.

Read also: Easy hacks for a more productive life

  • Self-doubt

When you have impostor syndrome, you will always doubt yourself. Even when people say they believe in you, you’ll still doubt your abilities and skills.

And this will restrict you in many ways. You will find yourself sabotaging your own self.

So how do you deal with this feeling that’s threatening to bring you down by all means?

How to deal with Impostor Syndrome

To deal with impostor syndrome, you should do this:

Recount how well you’ve done so far

I was inspired to write this post because I had just recently dealt with an impostor syndrome feeling.

 And how I dealt with it was by recounting my mistakes and countering them with my achievements and explanations for why I had made my past mistakes.

If it was an unavoidable mistake, I figured out why it had happened and what I can do now to avoid making the same mistakes. 

I also recounted my achievements so far and how people had praised or complimented my talents in the past.

This helped me greatly.

 I learned that I deserved this new opportunity!

I will do it well and I will not make the same mistakes I made in the past!

Talk to yourself

It could be by writing in your journal or by talking to your reflection in the mirror.

It could also be by recording words of encouragement and affirmation on your phone and later listening to it or by speaking to yourself as you pace around the room.

Whatever way you choose, talk to yourself.

Tell yourself, “I can do this.” “Nothing can stop me.” ” I deserve this opportunity.”

Tell yourself, “I will keep trying even if I fail.” “I won’t fail.” “Rejections cannot stop me, I will keep trying till I get what I want.”

The more you do that, the better you get at believing in yourself, trying new things, and talking to people about what you do and how you’re the best person for the position.

Talk to a friend about how you’re feeling

Not just anybody; a friend. Someone you can trust and preferably, someone who knows you and can help you see that the way you’re feeling is just a feeling and it doesn’t define your reality, your accomplishments, or how good you are at what you do.

Talking to a friend will help you hear from another person the things impostor syndrome has buried away from your mind; like what you have accomplished so far, what you’re good at, how capable you are, etc.

Talk to a therapist

If the feeling of  impostor syndrome becomes extreme and you find out you’re sabotaging yourself, forgoing opportunities, and pointing out your failures more than you celebrate your achievements, then you need to talk to a professional who understands more about impostor syndrome and is ready to help you completely overcome impostor syndrome and get your confidence back.

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