There is a well-known phenomenon that haunts the likes of Kate Winslet, Emma Watson, Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster. It sabotages careers, causes anxiety and steals happiness in some of the most successful people within our own communities and across the world.
It is of course, imposter syndrome. And it could well be getting in the way of more than just your career.
Perhaps you can relate to some of the following statements:
- I feel that I don’t deserve the success that I have attained even though I worked hard to get there
- I find it difficult to accept compliments
- Even when I do something really well, I don’t think that I am as accomplished as others think I am
- I am frightened of failing
- I am afraid that people will find out that I am not that smart after all
- Sound familiar, then you are not alone.
People who experience imposter syndrome have a very strong belief that they are not intelligent, talented or deserving of their achievements. Despite being very successful and hardworking, many believe that they are faking their way through their careers or personal lives. ‘Imposters’ feel like frauds who have got to where they are out of luck rather than talent.
Where does this leave you?
The anxiety comes from the feeling that eventually someone might find you out. They might uncover your mistakes, misfortunes and realise that you are actually not that great after all. People who suffer from this relatively modern phenomenon will ignore most of their achievements and become extra sensitive to making mistakes.
It’s actually quite common among therapists. Many wonder whether their clients will find them out and realise how rubbish they are when in fact most of their clients find therapy deeply beneficial.
Worryingly, sociologists Collett and Avelis found that Imposter Syndrome was one of the biggest reasons why highly qualified and driven women would take to less ambitious jobs despite being more than qualified for the higher paid job.
The most frustrating thing about it is that the real frauds out there rarely experience such a distressing feeling. Those who are cock sure of themselves tend to be the ones that jump straight in and then mess things up for everyone else, only to leave the destruction behind when they move onto the next thing.
If this is you then know that you can stop feeling like a fraud. You can acknowledge your successes and actually be happier for it.
Four simple ways to banish your anxieties for good!
Sometimes, those who are successful tend to isolate themselves. The good news is that when respected people let their guard down and share their feelings they usually find that not only do others feel the same but they will start to admire you more for the modesty. So, the next time you accidently send a flirty email to the director of the company instead of the guy opposite you, tell someone. They've probably done something similar.
Recognise that perfectionism drains your happiness
Having imposter syndrome can turn you into a bit of a perfectionist and the funny thing is that by nature you will be the sort of person that wants to learn and develop. When you get things wrong you may think that the mistake is just more evidence that you are a fraud. However, what you need to realise is that making mistakes is healthy and it can help you to grow faster. Most people are scared of making mistakes, but if you really are committed to your own development, then you will need to accept mistake making.
Understand that you’re good but you’re not that good
People who suffer from Imposter Syndrome do believe that they are talented but only in the art of deception. They spend their time working out how they can cover up their mistakes so that their employers don’t discover that are supposedly incompetent. They spend their energies analysing how they can hide their imperfections and improve without their peers knowing about it.
The truth is that if you really were incapable, incompetent and winging it then you would have been found out a long time ago. The very fact that you are where you are is a sign of your commitment, drive and stamina. You care about your future enough to evaluate where you are and develop. So relax, no one has discovered that you are a fraud because you are not.
Acknowledge what is really going on
So, you are worried that someone might discover you and tell you that you aren’t performing, aren’t good enough, aren’t suitable – etc, etc. You may be visualising the grilling that you’ll get and that horrible feeling when you are told to step your game up. But, I would urge you to think about what is really going on here.
What you're actually cringing over is the idea that someone will confirm what you think about yourself. Think about it. It is you that thinks you are not good enough and what you are doing is visualising the scenario in which someone agrees with you.
Unsurprisingly, this insecurity existed long before your career did and it may be causing you anxiety in other areas of your life. Imposter Syndrome is usually the symptom of a much deeper fear. Fear of rejection, not being good enough and failure.
Hypnotherapy can help you to get to the root cause of the issue. It can help you to eliminate it and become more confident in yourself and it won’t feel forced. Once the underlying anxieties are resolved you can benefit from a happier and more confident you, who is able to develop and become the person that you want to be. You will be able to do this without the doubts and fears.
If you want to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you then contact me and we can discuss your needs and your individual goals. I'll look forward to hearing from you to get started.