Have you already heard about imposter syndrome? I first heard this of term a few years ago, only when I started building my coaching practice. Since it immediately resonated with me, as I found many of my old behavioral patterns closely linked to it, I was surprised that I hadn't encountered it earlier.
What is it, and is there a chance you have it too?
Imposter syndrome refers to an inner belief that you are not as competent as others perceive you. This feeling of not being good or smart enough persists despite the level of education, years of working experience, or past accomplishments. It often comes with an underlying fear of being 'found out' and others suddenly seeing that you are not as smart or competent as they thought you were.
Usually, people who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to work harder to counter these feelings of not being 'good enough' and often have perfectionistic tendencies.
When I learned about it I immediately thought back to how I used to show up at work and how I used to feel. I was shocked to realise how many of the 'signs' were present. It's important to recognize that identifying yourself with any of these signs is nothing negative. I like to think of it as deepening awareness and learning more about ourselves that allows us to shed a healing light on areas that are 'hurting' or feel 'broken'. It enables us to go deeper within and treat ourselves with more self-acceptance and self-love. Are you ready to learn more? Let's dive right in.
What are the common signs?
Some of the signs I experienced myself and some I found through additional research were:
Everyone experiences self-doubt from time to time, but it shows up MORE FREQUENT for people who suffer from the imposter syndrome. They tend to doubt themselves even if they have been in a job for years and know it very well.
Not being able to assess your competence and skills
For me, it showed up as a fear of admitting to myself that I am good at something. As if right after that recognition, I would experience a situation where I got proven that I am not. And you know what? It often happened because I was putting my energy into what I did not want and so I created that as my reality.
Not being able to recognize own success
Instead of assigning success to ourselves, we give credits to others or external factors. E.g. I was just lucky to get this job. Or I was in the right place and at the right time.
Berating your performance
You are not entirely convinced when you hear someone telling you that you did a great job. You may think that they are saying it to be friendly or even to comfort you because, in fact, they think that you did a poor job. You may downplay those compliments because, in your view, what you did was not that amazing.
Fear that you won't live up to expectations
This one shows up very often for people starting in new jobs. They worry they won't be able to deliver on the level they think is expected of them. Quite often though, they themselves have higher expectations of themselves than others have of them.
Aiming for more than 100%. As mentioned above, people who suffer from the imposter syndrome have very high expectations of themselves, so they usually overdeliver in view of others.
Have you found yourself in any of these signs? If so, remember that the key is gaining this new awareness, which allows you to bring more love and self-compassion into your life because you deserve to feel worthy. You are worthy, and you are amazing in what you are doing.
Let me know if this topic sparked your interest and if you would like me to go deeper into it.