Are you struggling with feelings of inadequacy?
As if you’re not as good as “other people”, or as good as you “should be”, or as good as other people think you are?
Have you found yourself scrolling through job ads that initially excite you but as soon as you get to the “desired skills and abilities” section, you doubt yourself and end up clicking back out and not applying?
Or if you’re employed, are you avoiding applying for a promotion or pay raise you know you deserve because of negative self-talk?
Or even worse, you actually get that promotion (or another great achievement) and see yourself undeserving of it and hope that people won’t see you as a fake?
These are all classic examples of the so-called imposter syndrome. It’s a belief that can affect our mental health and hold back our successes significantly, which is why I’d love to share 5 effective tips on how to combat it!
1. Shift the way you look at others!
I know you’re feeling like the problem lies in you and your supposed flaws, but it’s actually not. The problem lies in how you look at others – and your conclusions come from the comparison you make. In short – if you didn’t look at others with such rose-colored glasses, you wouldn’t feel so inferior. So, the first step is to understand that NOONE is perfect, we all have different strengths and weaknesses and it’s that diversity that makes every workplace, and the world as a whole, a much better place. While saying that, every single person, including the very successful ones, have things that they’re working on, it’s part of being human.
2. Know you’re not alone!
According to research, imposter syndrome affects the majority of us, to varying degrees. In addition to your colleagues and other people in our lives, people like David Bowie, Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks and Michelle Obama are just some of the people we may look up to, who have also admitted to falling victim to these types of thoughts of unworthiness. You may even want to open up a conversation with people around you to see what their take is on this topic, and you’ll probably find that they can relate to your thoughts and feelings.
3. Separate feelings from facts!
Do a fact check! Don’t let the thoughts in your head snowball to the degree that you start believing them. Look back on previous achievements, start documenting new ones and ask for feedback and investigate how other people perceive your abilities, when in doubt. I’m sure people appreciate and admire you more than you might think!
4. Drop the idea of perfectionism and expect a bit less of yourself!
Perfection is a myth and that chase to get there will leave you feeling stressed and discouraged, so the sooner you can allow yourself to be “good enough”, the sooner you’ll find greater satisfaction in both your personal and professional life. Instead, understand that competence is always a work in progress. You don’t need to be perfect to be a good worker, a good parent, partner or friend. You don’t expect that type of perfectionism from others, do you? So why should you do the same of yourself? Take a deep breath and be kind to yourself.
5. Consider the Dunning Kruger effect – you might be smarter than you think!
It may actually be so, that you’re feeling like you don’t know much, because of the number of skills and knowledge you’ve already got. It sounds paradoxical but it’s an interesting phenomenon that you might want to look into a bit further. In essence, it explains why people who only have limited knowledge of a topic often come across as particularly confident and opinionated, while those with high skill levels have a more realistic view of their own competence. They have realised that although they may know much about something, there is still so much to learn, leaving them feeling more incompetent than they actually are. The reason you’re feeling inadequate could in other words be because you’re actually smarter than the average! Yay you!
So, there you have it, five effective tips to help you combat that pesky imposter syndrome, which is absolutely crucial if you want others to believe in you too! Very often, these thought patterns are harder to detect in ourselves than in others, which is yet another reason to have a chat to a professional coach when you’re doubting yourself. We can help you see what you can’t, unlock all that potential and help you get on the path to the career of your dreams!
Book in a free 20 call with our team of career consultants to get started! We can’t wait to help.
Zofia Nordqvist – Head Career Coach at Kate Langford Career Consulting
Don’t wait for the right opportunity. Create it.
Book in for a free 20-minute career strategy session with one of our consultants, so you can start taking action today!