Let’s start with the definition of imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon happening to many people. Unfortunately, some of us may not be aware that is the name or cause. Imposter Syndrome is a mental condition where an individual doubts his skills, achievements, and abilities; this sadly leads them to feel like a fraud despite showing one’s competence.
It is vital to know that overcoming this feeling or syndrome demands self-assessment, paradigm shift and implementing proactive steps to edify one’s confidence.
I trust the following strategies will help us to bundle Imposter Syndrome and send it to Mercury to get charred to debris.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEATS
The first thing to do is to cast your mind back on your past efforts and give due credit to yourself for your hard work. This is important. Try to re-create the grits and industry you exerted in the past that leads to your current success. Bask in the joy of delights you felt when you accomplish those goals and feats.
It is these memories you will use to strengthen your mind and completely subjugate that feeling of scepticism that want to gnaw at your mind. I used this when I taught some students at a tutorial and was awarded for being the best tutor. Initially, I felt I didn’t deserve that. I felt I had taken another’s accolades. But when I realized the efforts I had injected, I discovered my hard work merited it. That’s how I quelled the feeling.
2. REPLACE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Yeah. If you discover your thoughts are drifting towards this negative point, you must take action to substitute them. With what? You replace them with positive declarations and personal affirmations. You repeat those words daily to reframe and rewire unpleasant thoughts into strong, happy, and motivating ones.
In life, I have learnt to appreciate my strengths rather than mope on my weaknesses. In doing so, I have taken the courage and steps to dwindle the roaring whispers of not-being-good-enough or being an imposter of my little wins. Replacing my ill thoughts has been helpful.
3. CONFIDE IN TRUE FRIENDS
Another step to overcoming this syndrome is to share your heart feelings with trusted friends, family members, mentors or highly regarded persons. Ensure you open up about these mental insecurities to someone who is calm enough to understand your fears and worries, ready to comfort and help you to get out of this pit and accurate enough to help you walk through it till you regain your complete confidence in your abilities.
A female friend once shared this with me. I tried to help her see and understand the source of her syndrome. I offered her support and always gave her encouragement till she could not deepen again into that dump of her gaining another’s merits. I told her that life will reward her efforts. But, if you don’t accept those rewards, you will end up shortchanging yourself. That’s it! Have humans support systems you can seek shelter from.
4. EMBRACE AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
One of the sources of Imposter Syndrome I discovered stems from the mistakes we commit in the past. We tend to reason that by the fact we’ve made some mistakes we don’t deserve anything else good. Nope. Don’t have that rationality. Understand that making mistakes is a normal aspect of growth and learning. It is how we handle these errors that help us to become more experienced and better equipped to deal with future similar occurrences.
I ensure I focus on the lessons of my errors, pick up the solutions and grow in the knowledge that I am a rung better than I was before the mistake. I take the mistakes as an opportunity for personal development.
5. KEEP LEARNING AND EXPANDING YOUR KNOWLEDGE
The more you know and learn, the more you are confident in your expertise that you don’t even cast aspersions on your flairs and work. Never stop learning and improving your trade, business, job, work, research and outlook. Many suffer from this syndrome more often than not when they’ve become complacent and lackadaisical in their spheres.
Keep refilling the knowledge of betterment and enhancements. When you gather more, you are furnishing yourself to do more. In these efforts, you won’t consider yourself a fraud or downplay your intellectual or physical competence when accolades are rolled in.
6. CELEBRATE EVERY PROGRESS
If you don’t personally take time to celebrate your gradual wins or progress, you will not see how truly you are deserving of them when others do. Always take time to acknowledge and mark your achievements in any celebratory or congratulatory manner no matter how insignificant they may appear.
Personally, when I complete a task, I will tell myself. “Hey, Adesam, this drink is to mark and cheer you for finishing this task. Enjoy it without guilt”. This helps me to smile and process my thoughts that indeed I merit it. Never cease to praise your efforts.
7. AVOID COMPARISON
This is one pitfall many people need to desist in doing. Don’t start making a comparative analysis of your abilities with someone else. No! Don’t do it. Comparing yourself constantly with heaps of undue pressure on you that you will inevitably begin to perpetuate the imposter syndrome. Keep your focus lens on you, your progress, growth, and your trajectory.
You can glean one or two things from others but don’t deign to situate yourself into the balance of viewing yourself as lower in rank, skills or competence that you discredit your own abilities. Rather appreciate yourself and focus on the journey ahead.
8. PRACTICE SELF-CARE
It is vital you place your well-being as a priority. Ensure you regulate your activities to help you reduce stress. Engage in your hobbies, take regular exercises, have deep personal meditation to burn your negative energies and try to find fun with loved ones. This helps your mind to be in optimal condition so that you have little entrance for diminishing or impersonating thoughts.
Remember, it is a healthy body and a healthy mind that can wage overcoming war against life troubles and circumstances that seem to question our worth and value. Take your health as a priority. Set aside days in weeks you use to unwind and declutter your soul from things. This is helpful.
9. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IF NEEDED
If you discover that Imposter Syndrome significantly impacts your well-being, family life or professional life, consider seeking support from a certified medical therapist or counsellor who can help you work through these feelings.
You know many are of the opinion that is until one is gravely troubled that one should seek medical assistance. No. You can consult a medical practitioner and share your concerns. In fact, it has been observed that some health factors can be responsible for Imposter Syndrome. So, don’t keep mute. Seek help, my friend.
10. PRAY AND READ THE BIBLE
This may sound religious to some. I tell you prayer works. Praying to God through Christ. The Bible says “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” I have found prayers to be answers to many heart distresses. If you are troubled, seek a quiet time with God and pour out your mind. There is ease and helpfulness to problems when we pray to Almighty God.
I am a product of grace. Don’t whimper alone. You can share your thoughts with the Creator. I have found this to be therapeutic and whole.
We must remember that overcoming imposter syndrome is a journey, not a one-time action solution. It takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate each step you take towards building confidence, recognizing your worth and setting yourself on the top.
Don’t be fallen when there is a relapse. It is a work in progress. You can do it! You can overcome it! You are free of it! Follow the strategies and make those declarations.
Written by Adepoju “Adesam” Samuel, Life Researcher and Teens Educator.