Feeling like a fraud is an experience that many people face, and impostor syndrome isn’t limited to just high achievers. This feeling can affect anybody at any point in their life, however, it's worth noting that it may affect women and minority groups disproportionately.
Impostor syndrome may feel like we don’t deserve success, love, wealth, happiness because deep down we think there must be something wrong with us and we don't belong. An estimated 70% of people experience this feeling at some point in their lives, according to a review in the International Journal of Behavioral Science.
Impostor syndrome is particularly common among women in tech, because of the added pressure to succeed and prove that they deserve their place in the male-dominated industry.
It's important to remember that impostor syndrome doesn't define you as a person. Everything is in your head and can be managed through acknowledging the problem and reframing negative thoughts. Here are five simple tips that will help you cope with impostor syndrome.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Impostor syndrome is accompanied by many feelings, including insecurity. When you compare yourself to others, you start worrying about other people more than yourself. Constantly worrying about the people around you isn’t going to get you anywhere! Instead, focus on your own goals and accomplishments, appreciate your journey, and compare yourself only with your old self. It will help you to see how far you've come and appreciate your efforts more.
Learn to respond to failure and mistake making
Mistakes and failures are inevitable. We all do something wrong all the time, and that's okay. Your response to these situations defines you. You whether choose to treat your mistakes as important lessons to learn from or beat yourself up for them. You need to change your mindset and look at failure as an opportunity to do something else. This will help you avoid negative thoughts and emotions.
Visualize your success
Spend some time picturing yourself completing a certain task successfully. Visualize how you're going to navigate the situation. This helps you prepare beforehand and reduces performance-related stress.
Separate your feelings from facts
Reflect on your thoughts and feelings. There will be days when you're going to feel stupid. And instead of actively thinking about this and saying this to yourself over and over, just realize that because you feel a certain way, doesn't mean that you actually are this way. You need to learn to accept your feelings and just let them go. Observe them, and keep them separated from facts.
Be proactive and just do it
Action is the best way to cope with your impostor syndrome. Put action before thinking and you'll immediately see results. However, when you do so, you need to let go of perfect. Perfection can lead you back to negative thoughts and to being stuck. Try to act without overthinking much, and this will help you to move towards your goals with more confidence.
You can overcome impostor syndrome, even though sometimes it can be very can be weakening and demotivating. By acknowledging the issue and learning to cope with negative thoughts, you will be able to cultivate more useful patterns of thinking and combat impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome doesn’t mean you aren't capable and competent, so you should not let it stop you from reaching your personal and professional goals!