WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
Imposter syndrome is a term used to describe high achieving individuals who fail to internalize their own success. Instead, they determine their success to be luck and they fear others may view them as an imposter or fraud.
If you’re an entrepreneur, imposter syndrome tells you that customers may flee. If you’re a speaker, imposter syndrome tells you that you’re not an expert. If you’re an employee, imposter syndrome tells you you’re not good enough to apply for a promotion.
However, the commonality of every scenario is the underlying pressure of fear, false evidence appearing real.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
The insecurities associated with imposter syndrome originates from two factors: internal and external.
External factors include the environment in which you interact.
What or who are you surrounded by? Is it social media, television, people? The culture can create a frenzy of imposter syndrome. Being a pioneer and having no other examples of others like yourself can garner this reaction of being an imposter. Race and gender can also play a role.
Moreover, the environment in which you interact can either increase or decrease your insecurities.
For example, there is a standard of beauty on television. The depiction of beauty leans in one direction, though diversity is getting better.
Being overly exposed to these standards of beauty that may not lean in your direction can cause one to believe their beauty is not good enough.
To you, it may feel you’re not good enough to stand in the boardroom with all eyes on you. They’ll judge your beauty against the standard and determine you know nothing about your job.
As such, external factors then create internal pitfalls; internal thoughts that are negative about yourself.
Though imposter syndrome is not recognized as a psychiatric disorder, it has many effects on the person like many other behaviors.
WHAT ARE THE ADVERSE EFFECTS?
Fear and doubt is commonly associated with self-talk that is negative.
Negative self-talk such as, I’m not smart, typically occurs with isolated events. What tends to happen is there is a heightened focus on an isolated event where the individual deemed it unsuccessful and that is attached to the identity of the individual.
We often remember the times where we didn’t feel good enough, valued, celebrated, or appreciated.
This negative internal dialogue can show up in the employment space.
Professionals who have success but can’t accept recognition when success is achieved are more likely to have adverse effects such as:
- Low Self-esteem
- Social Dysfunctions
HOW TO OVERCOME IMPOSTER SYNDROME
- Disrupt and refocus your negative thoughts
- Examine: where did I get these ideas? How do they benefit me? How do they do me a disservice?
- Celebrate your wins and success!
- Keep a journal of your wins to refer back to when negative self-talk arise
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This journal is your first step to healing from the past, growing in the present, and resetting for your future.