Even if you’ve never heard of it, chances are you’ve experienced it at one point or another.
If you’ve ever felt like your accomplishments weren’t your own, or simply boiled down to timing or luck, then you were experiencing impostor syndrome – which according to Olivia Fox Cabane’s book entitled ‘The Charisma Myth’, affects some 70% of people.
The syndrome often stems from people’s inability to look at the bigger picture and juxtapose what they know about a particular thing they did and what they think other people know about the same thing.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say you’re a mother. You may simply assume that your child is growing up into a decent human as a matter of luck, and that your disciplining your child actually does more bad than good. You assume that people look at you and think you’re a bad parent– but, in reality, all most people see is a healthy and happy child with a mother who cares. When you don’t feel that, you’re suffering from the impostor syndrome.
So… Without further ado, here’s how to get over your impostor syndrome.
Feedback: All too often, we simply have no idea what to do with positive feedback. We mumble a ‘thank you’ and file it under forgotten, while we ponder on bad feedback for days or weeks. So learn to embrace positive feedback rather than brushing it off!
Choice of Words: When you’re talking about your career, don’t just assume anything was a matter of luck. Sure, the fact that you found a job out of university may have been luck, but the fact that you acted then and worked hard at it definitely wasn’t. In other words, recognising opportunity and taking it isn’t luck, it’s wisdom.
Humility: Be humble in that you don’t rub your success in other people’s faces, but be proud enough to appreciate your own worth. Most industries today are quite cut-throat, and if you and your abilities weren’t up to scratch, you’d have been fired. Trust me.
Recognition: Recognising the fact that the impostor syndrome exists and that you may be experiencing it, will help you identify when you’re being fair to yourself and when not. When even people like Tina Fey and Meryl Streep suffer from it, you know that it’s not just you being silly.
Do you ever suffer from impostor syndrome?