will come and arrest me."
- Mike Myers
I was talking to one of my clients a couple of weeks ago, and she was telling me about her new promotion and her increased salary.
Instead of being exited about this new opportunity, she felt scared instead...... and then she suddenly told me.....
"I wonder when they are going to find out about me?
I asked her what she meant by that remark.
She explained "I wonder when they are going to find out that I am not as good as they think I am? That I don´t deserve the job and that I am not really capable of doing it."
She explained that she felt like a fraud.
After listening to my client I explained to her that there is something called "Imposter Syndrome" and today I will explain to you what is all about.
Many successful people and especially women will suffer from "Imposter Syndrome".
They feel like they are a fraud. They feel like that are less qualified than their peers or co-workers and that they are less deserving of success.
They live in fear that one day they will be "found out". So to deal with this fear of being found out they often work harder and longer than anyone else.
Will working harder than anyone else really make you feel less like a fraud or are you simply trying to compensate for feeling unworthy?
A lot of times when you are suffering from this syndrome you will not seek out new challenges in life. It might stop you from seeking new jobs because of the fear of not being able to meet the expectations that a new job will bring and that they lack the skills and that they can never be successful.
They often feel that they don´t have the ability to do a new job. So they might decide to remain where they are instead of taking a chance at this new job, for the fear of being found out.
They fear that people will figure out that they are a fraud.
"Imposter Syndrome is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. R. Clance and Suzanne A. Innes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and persisted fear of being exposed as "fraud."
Despite external evidence of their competence those exhibiting the symptom remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.
Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
Some studies suggest that imposter syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.
Psychological research done in the early 1980´s estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds and other studies have found that 70 percent of all people feel like imposters at one time or another.
It this is not addressed victims can develop anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, shame and self-doubt.
People who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to reflect and dwell upon extreme failure, mistakes and negative feedback from others.
If not addressed, imposter syndrome can limit exploration and the courage to delve into new experiences in fear of exposing failure.
Most people who experience imposter syndrome are unaware that others feel inadequate as well.
To be completely honest here.....I think a lot of us can relate to feeling like this.
I know I can.
I my own coaching business I have many times thought and said to myself "Who am I to try to help people?"
Or "All these people already know what I know. How can I charge for my services. I am not good enough."
"If a client talks to me for awhile they will soon find out that I really don´t know much at all."
Most of us are afraid that we are not good enough.
A couple of tips on how to deal with this!
- One simple way to deal with this is to talk or discuss it with a trusted friend, partner, co- worker, mentor or coach.
- Make a list of you accomplishment.
Write down all your accomplishments with reality. Later you can go back and read it.
Don´t trust your memory. It is easy to forget and to downplay your accomplishments.
Write them down.
- Develop a strong support system.
- Journaling. Write down your feelings or record them
- Don´t suffer in silence.
Express your true feelings. Don´t be afraid to let other know how you feel.
Don´t continue to live in fear. Bring out in the open. You are not alone in feeling this way.
As they say........."The truth will set you free. "
- Ask yourself what your fear is all about?
Remember that others are also feeling fear.
It is perfectly natural.
- Learn to validate yourself.
We all need validation from others, but we mostly need from ourselves.
Most of us make two basic errors.
1. We underestimate ourselves and our own ability
2. We overestimate the other persons ability.
Don´t sell yourself short.
Karin Glannstam - Personal Success Coach