From Self-Doubt to Imposter Syndrome

What is Imposter Syndrome?

“How can anybody believe I can do this?”  “I’ve no right to be here” “I’m going to get found out” “I’m an imposter!”

It is a rare person who does not experience anxieties and self-doubt, sometimes, in some situations, at some time in their lives. Anxiety and stress can occur in any of us, when there is tension between what you think of what you do and what you believe others expect of you.

“I still have a little impostor syndrome, it never goes away…that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously.”

“What do I know?”

Michelle Obama

In a work situation, if you are experiencing anxiety and self-doubt and are worrying about a task this can lead you to massively over-prepare (it has to be perfect!) or perhaps to procrastinate (if you don’t actually produce the work or publish the book you have been writing for the past 10 years nobody will see that you’re a failure.  If the work appears at the absolutely last minute, there’s always ‘Sorry, I was so busy I ran out of time.”)

What is the real problem?

It can be a great mixture of things.  Try this one to start with:  If you do manage to accomplish the task, you will only experience momentary relief – “It was luck!”  “I worked harder and better than ever before so I won’t be able to repeat that!” Any positive feedback and praise is brushed aside as the feeling of being an anxious fraud fully re-emerges.

If you are someone who wants things to be absolutely right and perfect all the time, try this thought: in some parts of your life, in the more mundane and less important tasks you need to do, try being good enough.

Good enough.

Nobody, but nobody can operate at 100% of their capacities at all times.  If you try, you will ultimately disappoint yourself, create stressful situations for yourself and feel a failure.

Try for 90% or even 80%.  That is still pretty impressive.

And perfection can be rather dull.  The most interesting trees are not the ones that are perfectly shaped.

Multi-millionaire supermodel, Kate Moss has Amblyopia or a ‘lazy eye’.
Not perfect but definitely good enough!

Photo: Vogue

You can develop confidence

There are strategies that will help you tackle low confidence levels by:

  • Examining how values, beliefs, emotions and behaviour are created and how you can change them,
  • Understanding how you think, move, breathe and speak is affected by changes in your physiology and psychology,
  • Discovering how the language we use affects others and ourselves, and can help or hinder our progress in life,
  • Reframing unhelpful thought processes, transforming self-doubt into positive self-talk,
  • Seeking out and affirming your personal qualities and achievements,
  • Developing your own ways to foster resilience.

If you would like to find out more about how you can tackle your own self-doubt and build yourself a confidence kit, enquire about voicebusiness Confidence Lab training.

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