Have you ever accomplished something that took a lot of effort and made you feel proud, but you still felt less than confident about yourself in general?
In psychology, this feeling that we don’t really deserve what we’ve earned is described as the Impostor Syndrome.
No matter how much you accomplish or acquire, it won’t satisfy you unless you have self-confidence on the inside.
True self-confidence has nothing to do with what you’ve accomplished and everything to do with your belief that you have the ability to accomplish anything you want to do.
Your confidence is based on who you are, not what you did. No one or no adverse outcome can take that away from you. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Impostor Syndrome - what is it and how can it be overcome?
Have you heard of the term a fake? That's what Impostor Syndrome refers to. It's the feeling that no matter what you do, you are inadequate or incompetent despite that you are knowledgeable, skilled, and successful.
Impostor Syndrome, also known as Impostor Phenomenon, knows no particular boundaries -- it happens to men and women, in different cultures, with different upbringings.
These feelings stem from your background, your personality, and your life's circumstances. It's a combination of these that often bring on a lack of confidence.
The way to overcome that is to begin with accepting who you are and embracing your uniqueness.
We all have something very special to offer and, once you internalize this, it is just the beginning of a new way of kicking that impostor syndrome to the curb.
4 Different Profiles of Impostor Syndrome
Dr. Valerie Young explains in her website article that there are 5 identified types of Impostor Syndrome and I've combined 2 similar ones to create 4 different types.
No matter what category you find yourself in, you are definitely not alone.
According to a 2011 article in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people will experience at least one episode of impostor syndrome in their lives.
So what do we do with this information?
The fear, the self-doubt, the stress, and the overall lack of confidence that this Syndrome presents are not anything to be ignored. It can be overcome and it starts with accepting and embracing yourself for who you are.
The fastest route to increasing your self confidence is to take off your mask, come to terms with who you are and what you have to offer, and know that, even when you try your hardest, there are limits in life. Not everyone can be everything 100% of the time and it's perfectly okay.
So I write this post and I really want to share a bit of my story as it relates to Impostor Syndrome because this subject is one that has much familiarity to me.
I first felt this syndrome when I landed a job in the health care field as an Administrator. I was nervous and very sure that someone was going to discover that I didn't have a clue about managing over 100 employees. Sure, I'd read about it, studied it in school, and agreed that I could do it but could I really do it? I not only did do it, but I did it well.
Impostor Syndrome disappeared and didn't rear its ugly head again until I ran for public office. Again, I was sure that I would be found out that I didn't have the experience or the knowledge that was needed for the position. I did, but that's how it felt. It not only scared me, but it froze me in my tracks more than once. All worked out fine but, those are haunting memories I had when I decided to become an entrepreneur.
I knew I had the knowledge and the experience in the business world -- heck, I have over 3 decades of it! But, when I decided to come into the online space, that ugly old Impostor Syndrome decided to reappear with a vengeance. People put their trust in me and would I be able to deliver? It was a scary thing (some days it still can be) but I dealt with it by working with a fantastic Life/Self-Care Coach, Kathryn Ford Richter, who worked to uncover some hidden feelings and situations that led me to take immediate action. I also surround myself with some wonderful mentors and accountability partners that help me work through those moments when they do start to reappear.
I share my story with you so that you understand it happens to all of us -- no matter age, gender, experience, personality. The best way to handle this syndrome is to look it in the face and refuse to let it control your life or your situation. Again, knowing that you have a choice and that you can change it, is half the battle.
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