Be it in a wonderful social circle, a flourishing relationship, or one outstanding business collaboration, there may be times you feel as if you don’t belong. And the probability is that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, but you just need to learn how to overcome that imposter syndrome.
It’s true; sometimes, it’s almost unbelievable that you made it, right? But somehow, for some reason, you’d be more inclined to discredit your abilities to make all of these happen. Why? The imposter syndrome symptoms kick in.
Here’s what you need to know:
Just remember that you’re inherently worthy of the greatness that shows up in your life. You just need to learn how to embrace it.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is when you feel you don’t deserve the successes and achievements you’ve earned. You doubt your abilities and capabilities, fearing that you’ll be found out as an imposter.
The American Psychological Association defines imposter syndrome as “a situation in which highly accomplished, successful individuals paradoxically believe they are frauds who ultimately will fail and be unmasked as incompetent.”
The first research papers on the topic concluded that only women could suffer from imposter syndrome, but later research has found that around 70% of people are likely to experience feeling like this at least once in their lives.
Symptoms of this emotional condition can be associated with:
- Overworking to achieve
- Constant fear that you won’t meet expectations
- Low self-esteem
What causes imposter syndrome?
A number of factors can contribute to developing this kind of issue internally:
- Family background. Growing up in a family of high-achievers might make the child feel pressured and always inadequate. Later on in life, they will need to learn how to overcome imposter syndrome, as chances are that they could struggle to feel worthy of success. Even when they worked hard for it.
- Personality traits. Perfectionism, insecurities, or low levels of confidence and self-acceptance can all induce the appearance of imposter syndrome in certain life situations. Because these characteristics oftentimes make individuals feel like nothing they have done could ever be enough.
- Pressure to perform in new environments. Imposter syndrome will often show up when people are introduced to a new activity, environment, or social situation, no matter how much they initially wanted to be there. That happens because there is an unspoken pressure to perform and show up as your best self. Nothing wrong with that; besides the fact that when one’s confidence is low, feeling like the best version of themselves doesn’t come in handy.
3 Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
In an engaging episode of The Mindvalley’s Podcast, Vishen talks with Shadé Zahrai, a leadership coach and international speaker who is well known for her “magical” ability to transform the latest psychological research into practical actions.
You can listen to the full episode here:
Vishen and Shadé touch on the subject of how to overcome imposter syndrome through three simple strategies.
This is her take on it:
#1: Core-self evaluation
The number one strategy she recommends is using the method of core-self evaluation. This technique is split into four different steps and helps you define your concept of self:
- Self-esteem. Your self-esteem is fundamental to anything you want to create in your life, no matter what area you’re referring to. Answer this question honestly: do you value yourself?
- Self-efficacy. This is about your judgment of how well you think you can execute. It’s about the trust you have in your own ability to succeed, overcome challenges, and be resilient when things don’t go as planned. Answer this question: do you believe you can achieve your goals?
- Internal locus of control. You can focus on the things you can control rather than the events you cannot. You can’t control uncertainty, but you can believe that you’ll do anything in your power to make your dreams come true. For example, your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are all factors that you have power over. Answer this question: do you have control over your inner world?
- Emotional stability. Simply put, it’s your ability to emotionally self-regulate and observe your emotions. Many times simply acknowledging how you feel and creating that observational space within gives you a lot of control over an intensely emotional situation. Answer this question: can you self-regulate your emotions?
#2: Rewriting your life story
Shadé emphasizes how important is the way you narrate the story of your life. She mentions the theory of narrative identity founded by Dr. Dan McAdams.
The core concept of this theory lies in the type of identity you choose to have when you talk about the experiences you’ve been through. According to him, there are two types of life storytelling:
- Redemptive stories. People who believe their lives are meaningful tend to tell stories defined by growth and hope. They see challenging situations as necessary suffering they had to undergo in order to evolve.
- Contamination stories. People whose sense of self becomes intertwined with life events. Their stories are contaminated with how tragic they think their lives are, and they focus on how situations made them feel like a victim.
When it comes to learning how to overcome imposter syndrome, there’s another way to rewrite how you see this internal experience. Chances are that when you’re feeling this way, you’re actually experiencing change and growth.
And because you’re probably in an environment where you don’t know everything, the feeling of inadequacy might arise. However, there lies a beautiful opportunity to learn and grow beyond your comfort zone. It’s all about how you edit your personal narrative.
Your ability to redefine impacts the quality of your life and what you achieve.— Shadé Zahrai, leadership expert and bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Be Happy – Said No One, Ever!
#3: Choosing to operate from your higher nature
Shadé shares a beautiful anecdote of how the human inner world operates. Imagine there are two wolves inside your psyche in a constant confrontation — one is good and the other one, evil.
If you asked which one is going to win, the answer is simple: whichever one you feed.
- The good wolf is basically your higher nature, your connection to the divine source within, and your ability to achieve your dreams.
- The evil wolf is associated with imposter syndrome, not feeling enough, or being afraid to take risks.
So when you want to overcome imposter syndrome, you have to engage in a dialogue with yourself. Notice which part of yourself has control over your life at this moment, right here, right now. Ask it what it’s trying to tell you.
What’s it afraid of? Is it your ego, full of fears and self-doubt? Or is it your very soul in power, the one who knows you’re capable of creating the life you desire to live?
If our challis is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life.— Shadé Zahrai, leadership expert and bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Be Happy – Said No One, Ever!
Do the Inner Work
Shadé reminds us all that when we do the inner work first, we’ll do our best work always. And this order of priorities applies especially when we want to overcome imposter syndrome.
If you’re looking to upgrade your skills to support your journey of inner work, Mindvalley is the place to be. Through engaging conversations with top leaders in the field of personal growth, the Mindvalley Podcast offers insight on various topics such as:
- Psychological common issues most people deal with
- How to attract, create, and nurture healthy relationships
- Performance at work
- Health optimization, etc.
So, this is one first step to take on your path to self-discovery. And you should congratulate yourself for being exactly where you are, even when the imposter syndrome kicks in from time to time.