This can happen when you get a promotion at work, or find success in entrepreneurship, or even when you start a new business. You just have a nagging feeling that you don’t know enough to have accomplished that thing or that you aren’t talented enough to be among the other talented people with whom you are now aligned.
That feeling you experience in those moments is called Imposter Syndrome. We all get it to some degree. Most people get it in small doses for various situations, but some people get it much more severely. It can be so severe that it causes a person to retreat or give up the very thing they worked so hard for.
Psychology Today defines Imposter Syndrome as a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.A person has a persistent feeling that they aren’t worthy of their accomplishments. They can even experience paranoia that people will uncover them as a fraud. They aren’t actually frauds, they just feel like they are.
I’ve experienced this feeling, and I think most entrepreneurs — especially coaches — probably do in the beginning of their careers. You may be well versed in your industry or niche, and you may have years of experience in that industry, but when you first start establishing yourself as an expert, you feel like you’re just not worthy.
This feeling is usually rooted in our fear of failing and a lack of confidence in ourselves. We would sooner see someone with exactly the same knowledge and experience we have as qualified, while discounting ourselves as not there yet.
When you find yourself in the midst of a full blown episode of Imposter Syndrome, here are a few things you can do to get over feeling like you don’t deserve your accomplishments.
- Remember all the hard work you’ve put in to get to where you are.
You probably dedicated many, many long days and nights, and you probably made numerous sacrifices to achieve what you have. You’ve definitely experienced some low points and had times you didn’t think you would make it. You’ve had to dedicate a lot of time and attention to this achievement, so you should give yourself credit for the level of dedication that it took to get to where you are. Give yourself credit for the fact that you’re actually really talented. Give yourself credit for the fact that you didn’t give up when things got tough. You’ve done things that other people weren’t willing to do, and that counts for a lot!
2. Ask yourself if you’d rather not be in that position.
The alternative to you being where you are today is that you could go back to where you were trying to get away from in the first place — or you could go in an entirely new direction. It is very possible to accomplish something and realize you liked your old life better, but be 100% sure that you aren’t acting out of fear of the unknown before you just give it all up.
3. Give yourself time.
Many times, reaching greater heights calls for greater responsibility and a greater level of vulnerability to the unknown. You might actually be feeling the fear of that responsibility and of being out of your comfort zone. Give yourself time to acclimate to your new status in life and it’s very likely that your case of Imposter Syndrome will slowly fade away.