So despite all of the success in your work and life, why is it that you feel like a fake, that you’re an imposter, a phony. This is a phenomenon which is very real and exists, highly motivated successful people feeling that they’re inadequate.
They’ll persist forward even thought the data suggest otherwise, the information indicates the opposite being true. This feeling is constantly experienced internally, which is a feeling of chronic and continuous self doubt, feelings which persists that they don’t deserve what they’ve achieved.
All of the telltale signs of this, one feeling like they’re an impostor has been actually revealed as a disconnect which exists between their perceived performance and what their actual performance is.
Those who feel they don’t deserve what they’ve achieved usually has an excellent track record of performance, achievement, above average grades, etc. Yet, for some reason they think that they’ve reached their stage in life by faking it, and that at any moment, they’re going to be exposed as a big phony.
One characteristics of this mindset is that although these individuals crave acknowledgement and praise for their accomplishments, they don’t really feel that comfortable once they receive it.
What all this praise and recognition makes them feel is anxious, this since they secretly feel embarrassed to receive all of the acclaim. After all, they’re just faking it through life, unlike everyone else who appears to know what they’re doing.
Those Who Suffer From This Syndrome
You know if you suffer from it, but don’t feel alone since it’s estimated that over 56% percent of the population has experienced varying degrees of this at one time or another in their lives.
Also feel comfort that those who are extremely high achievers in life and in business, are the ones who usually suffer from this, what’s referred to as the impostor syndrome.
Both men along with women experience this, one difference being that they respond to it differently. In a recent study which involving college students, women experienced higher measures of anxiety, although they worked and competed hard just to prove themselves.
The men who happened to score high, they avoided the situations where their weaknesses would potentially be exposed. Their motivation was to always appear as strong as possible by pursuing just the activities which showcased their strengths.
Where Does This Originate
The feeling of inferiority, the “I don’t deserve this,” syndrome stems from a variety of reasons. One study revealed that when young, either extreme over protection or extreme lack of attention when it came to paternal care, led to this development.
Another study showed that having friends or siblings which were non-supportive were associated with greater incidences of feeling like an impostor for both men and women. What these so called “friends” do is drain their confidence, while real friends will strengthen it.
Career Stepping Stones
Feeling like an impostor to some is considered just a rite of passage when it comes to building one’s career. As individuals move up the “ladder” in their profession, they become more skilled at their work.
When doing so, you’d think that all of their self doubts would fade away. After all, they must somewhat know what they’re doing or otherwise they wouldn’t get promoted.
But it’s found that the reverse is true. Once you progress through your career and then become more skilled, you’re also given bigger responsibility. With the bigger responsibility comes the increased chances of failure.
When you were new at a job and made mistakes, others would cover for you or support you, or that the mistake weren’t that drastic or were easily fixable. But once you became an executive, mistakes can potentially cost you your job, or your business millions.
So there’s no wonder that CEO’s tend to have enormous egos. They need to have one this in order to silence their persistent inner voice of self-doubt which they constantly hear, which can lead to making a wrong decision when they have these life altering responsibilities.
What’s The Best Way To Combat This
While there’s no real consensus on how you can treat this syndrome of feeling inadequate, there is a wide range of extremely useful advice given on the topic.
It appears that there are several habits to adopt which are frequently recommended, as the best ways to overcome these feelings.
• Acknowledge Your Own Success – Those who suffer from this syndrome don’t internalize their successes. They’re more likely to attribute them to either luck or receiving help from others.
But your successes, your accomplishments are yours, regardless of how lucky you were or how much help you got. So make sure that you thank others, but also take some credit as well, as you deserve the praise.
• Dealing With The Feelings – The fear of success or failure, fear of being exposed as a fraud, all are unpleasant feelings. But when in moderation, what they should do is motivate you.
Accept that everyone regardless of how successful they are, all experiences bouts of self-doubt which underlies the impostor syndrome. It’s just part of becoming successful or accomplished. There’s nothing unusual about feeling inadequate.
• Controlling Your Own Thoughts – These feelings thrive because of self criticism. The more fault that you find in yourself or your performance, the more that you think you’re unworthy.
Our brains are wired to remember just the negative things which happened in our lives rather than the positive ones, the wins, which is just a part of our evolution. The reason being that negative experiences can be more severe or life threatening than the positive ones are, so this is how our brain copes in keeping us safe from danger.