Ways to get rid of the fear of exposure and feel in your place
If you have a constant fear that you're not good enough at what you do, you probably suffer from imposter syndrome.
Many people suffer from it, including very successful ones. It is not easy to live in constant fear of exposure, but you can get rid of it by changing the way you think about yourself.
What is impostor syndrome and who suffers from it
"It's not an achievement, I just got lucky," "I'm afraid that one day everyone will notice my stupidity and incompetence" - such thoughts are typical for people with impostor syndrome. It was first written about in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clunes and Susan Eames. In their first paper, they pointed out that only women faced impostor syndrome. Clance later acknowledged that such feelings can be experienced by anyone who cannot accept their successes.
Although impostor syndrome is not considered a disease, it is worth dealing with. According to the American Psychological Association, it is often accompanied by anxiety and symptoms of depression. It can also interfere with enjoying life and achieving new goals.
Impostor syndrome is a common problem: 70% of people have encountered it in one way or another at different times in their lives. One of the most famous researchers of the problem, Valerie Young, identified several groups of people who most often suffer from the syndrome.
1. Perfectionists. They constantly live with the feeling that they could have done better. No matter how good the results are, they will still be dissatisfied with them. They like to control everything, tend to micromanage and believe that if you have to do something well, you should do it yourself.
2. experts. They live with the feeling that they lack the knowledge and skills for their job. Even small gaps in knowledge are perceived as proof of this. When they start a new task, they try to thoroughly study everything related to it. Such people take many trainings and courses to prove their competence with certificates. And they don't send a resume for a job unless they meet absolutely all the criteria in the description.
3. Natural geniuses. People of this type are sure that professionalism is determined by innate abilities. That is why every time they fail to cope with the task quickly and easily, they feel like impostors.
4. individualists. They are trying to cope with everything alone and take someone else's help as an insult. They often sacrifice their personal life for work.
5. Supermen and Wonder Women. They work harder than others and try to excel in absolutely all areas of life so they don't feel like failures.
Among the causes of imposter syndrome are too high expectations of a child in childhood and the need to earn the love of parents by some achievements. It is also provoked by an uncomfortable work environment: a young professional among experienced employees or a woman in a male team is more likely to feel like an impostor. But this syndrome can be overcome and you can learn to accept your successes.
Keep track of your thoughts
You can't change your own opinion of yourself overnight. You have to move gradually. Psychologist Audrey Erwin recommends analyzing negative thoughts about yourself.
Decentering, a technique used in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, can help here. This involves keeping track of your negative thoughts, but not becoming attached to them or reacting to them emotionally.
For example, if you begin to think about your incompetence, just note it for yourself, but don't immerse yourself in thinking about it. Look at your thoughts from the outside as something that doesn't apply to you. Every time you doubt your abilities and qualifications, try asking yourself questions:
1. Are my thoughts true? When answering it, try to rely not on fears and established ideas about yourself - but on concrete facts. For example, think back not only to situations in which you made mistakes, but also to those in which you behaved professionally. This will help you evaluate your skills more realistically.
2. What emotions do these thoughts evoke in me?
3. how useful or detrimental are these emotions to me right now? Do they make me anxious, depressed, or, conversely, full of energy?
The answers to these questions will help you understand how negative - and not always fair - perceptions of yourself affect you and your life. You will learn not to get involved in them, and this will reduce the intensity of unpleasant emotions.
Give yourself the right to be wrong
People prone to perfectionism often spend a long time blaming themselves for every mistake. But this is not the most productive model of behavior: self-blame will not help to avoid the next mistake. Therefore, it is better to perceive their mistakes pragmatically: to see them as a source of valuable experience and new knowledge that will increase the chances of success in the future.
That's why it's worth reliving mistakes the way athletes do: many of them are able to gather their strength quickly. One of the NFL's most prolific coaches, Don Shula, imposed a 24-hour rule: he gave himself and the entire team only 24 hours to celebrate a win or mourn a loss. During that time, all the emotions accumulated could be poured out. And the next day it was necessary to concentrate on new achievements.
And don't forget that everyone makes mistakes. Michael Jordan describes his road to success as follows: "I've missed over 9,000 times in my career. I lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been called upon to make the decisive shot, and I've missed. I've lost over and over again in my life. And that's what made me succeed. You're not a loser until you give up.
Attribute your accomplishments
Some people are particularly prone to dwell on failures and pay little attention to the successes. But it's also important to think of the good - recognizing your own victories boosts self-esteem and motivates you to move on.
People with imposter syndrome find it difficult to acknowledge their accomplishments and accept compliments without a thousand excuses. They often attribute their success solely to lucky circumstances, help from others, or hard work.
To balance your self-esteem, it is important to learn to appropriate your accomplishments, that is, to recognize them for yourself. To do this, you can make a list of 10 things in which you are as competent as other people in that position. If you doubt this, ask yourself if there is any good reason to think so. This will help you look at yourself more objectively.
Also, start writing down all your small achievements by the end of the day. This will gradually improve your opinion of yourself.
Praise yourself out loud
Compliments to themselves, which should be uttered aloud, psychologists call positive affirmations. Many argue that they help to take control and cope with anxiety. To do this, they must be repeated many times - until the voice starts to sound confident. You can say to yourself, "sometimes i make mistakes, but i always try to fix things or make them better." or, "i always end up doing well." or any other phrase that supports you.
Studies show that the brain doesn't always see the difference between imaginary and real events. And so it may react to them in the same way. For example, every time we think of horrors that can only happen, we experience the most genuine stress reaction. It is quite possible that positive thoughts have the same effect on the brain. If you often repeat how smart, talented, strong and brave you are, he may see that this is indeed true. This will have a positive effect on his attitude and behavior.
People with imposter syndrome are often advised to find a mentor who belongs to the same circle or profession. You need one to give valuable advice and remove doubts. At the same time you can try to become a mentor yourself. At first it will seem that you don't have enough competence to teach someone. But once you start to immerse yourself in the process, you'll realize how much you know, and the positive feedback from your students will motivate you to develop further.
You don't have to have a degree to become a teacher. You can start collaborating with one of the online platforms that offer courses in different specialties. You can talk about your hobby and give free classes to your friends. You can start a blog where you share your knowledge. In any case, you will need to use your knowledge and experience to prepare lessons and posts. In the process, you will realize how much you know.