We often find ourselves feeling like we’re playing pretend. Uncertain of our place in society and self-conscious about our lack of perceived personal ability.
If you've experienced thoughts like, “Why do I feel like a fraud?”, “I’m not smart enough to be amongst these people” and, “I don't belong here,” then you're not alone.
You might be experiencing imposter syndrome, which can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. “Imposters” suffer from chronic self-doubt, depression, anxiety and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. It is a psychological pattern in which one doubts their accomplishments coupled with persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud.”
Surprisingly, many of those who suffer from imposter syndrome don’t even realize it. This psychological phenomenon is brilliant in disguising itself within the lies that say you don’t deserve your success despite your hard work and achievements.
The more successful you become, the more these feelings of fraudulence, depression and anxiety increase, making you feel even more like an imposter. Day by day, ambitious young men and women start to climb the ladder of success, experiencing and undertaking endeavors of graduated skill. However, as time passes, feelings of fear and incompetence build up inside. No accomplishment can fill the vacant space to satisfy the thirst for success, and nothing you do measures up to that of your peers.
Imposter syndrome is a threat to your mental health. While it drains your energy and causes you to lose focus on your goals in life, this negative mentality lowers your self-esteem. You may no longer have the courage or “fire” to explore new avenues of interest and go after opportunities. The hard truth is, if you spend the rest of your life seeing yourself as undeserving of your hard-earned success, you will never reach your full potential.
What if you walked into the first day of work and said: “I can do this?”
Asking a question, being nervous or fearful, or needing help, does not make you an imposter, it makes you human.
What if you realized that fear is a normal response to the unknown?
Fear can be your drive to success and allow you to thrive under all circumstances presented before you.
Being able to internalize your external success is the key to realizing your potential; it is another triumph of its own. Self-worth is not measured up to a number. Value your failures and accomplishments, because these lessons shape your growth. Realizing that success is measured up to your belief in yourself is the way out of self-doubt.
Think and act like someone who embraces a healthy response to these challenges. Don't let the fear of judgment consume you. You are far greater than your accomplishments, you are strong, resilient and deserving of all that you have.
At the end of the day, if you want to stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like one.