Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? Or that whatever you’ve achieved is a fluke and you don’t actually deserve it? Have you feared that one day everyone will know you don’t deserve to be where you are?
These feelings of inadequacy are a result of the imposter syndrome. It’s quite a common condition, especially among high achievers, where in the person is unable to accept their own achievements and fear that they will be exposed as a ‘fraud’. Usually people with imposters syndrome fear they will not be able to repeat their success, they have very high expectations of their own competency (expectations they find hard to live up to), and they have a hard time accepting praise.
Thus, they’s rather avoid submitting journal articles and asking for recognition in group work. They are perfectionists and they’d rather hide their abilities.
If that at all sounds like you, don’t worry you’re among the seventy percent student population who suffers from the syndrome.
If you don’t know how to cope with it, here’s where to start:
Write down your thoughts
Whenever you are faced with an insecurity that you just lucked out once, take out a piece of paper and write down your thoughts for 10 minutes, no more. Don’t filter your thoughts and try not to skip anything, let your feelings come out like a rant. Once you’re done, take a breath and read what you’ve written. Does it sound completely honest or does it sound like you’re letting fear overtake your mind? If you be honest, you’ll realize that the piece isn’t at all rational but a expulsion of insecurity and now that you’ve let it out you can tear the paper and throw it away. It will make you feel lighter.
There will always be someone ahead of you professionally or personally, but you don’t know what they went through to get there or what they are still going through. Everyone has their own strengths, their own ability, and also their own journey in life (if you believe in that kind of stuff). So, do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself to others. It’s ok if you haven’t become a CEO at twenty five, you’ll get there. Just focus on their strengths, nurture them, embrace them and keep working hard.
Volunteer to teach someone a skill
Whatever your skill is, there are so many people who would love to acquire it. Even if you find one person, even if you have to do it for free, do it. Teaching someone will force you to accept your own expertise and will make you confident of your abilities.
Accept your success
Don’t shy away from compliments, accept them, believe in them. Always welcome this feeling of self worth, own it! Your success is a fruit of your diligence, not luck, not any other external factor. In fact you can even write down these compliments and go back to them whenever you are faced with those feelings of inadequacy. They will remind you of the feeling you got when you heard the compliment and reinstate your faith in yourself.
Pursue your goal
It takes a lot of courage to do something you’re afraid of but then it becomes all the more satisfying and fulfilling. And if you can do it you can do anything. So the best way to defeat imposter syndrome is to defeat fear, and you can do that by taking a risk and pursuing your goal relentlessly, regardless of fear. You work hard, never stop acting and never let fear become more important that your goal.