You’ve work hard all your life, perhaps got a few breaks, slaving hard to the bone. You’ve reached the crest of your chosen profession, or struck it out on your own to forge a path as an entrepreneur. So despite all of the success that you’ve realized in your work, why is it then, that you feel like you don’t deserve your accomplishments. That you feel like an imposter, a phony. This is a phenomenon that’s all too common, and very real. There are highly motivated accomplished people, who feels they’re inadequate in life.
They forge ahead boldly however, even thought their doubts persists, while the data suggests otherwise. This feeling is constantly experienced by most professionals, which is the feeling of chronic and continuous self doubt. Feelings that they don’t deserve what they’ve achieved. They feel this empty hollow chamber inside them.
The telltale signs of this, where one feels like they’re an impostor, has actually been defined, revealed as an internal disconnect that exists between what their personal perceived performance, and what their actual performance is.
Those who feel they don’t deserve what they’ve achieved, usually had an outstanding track record of performance, such as above average grades in school, and attended post secondary education.
Yet, some feel they’ve reached their status in life by faking it, and at any moment, their bubble is about to burst. They’re going to be exposed as a fraud.
One characteristic of this belief, is that although these individuals seek out and crave acknowledgement and praise for their accomplishments, they also cringe as they don’t feel comfortable receiving it.
What all this recognition does is makes them feel anxious, this because they secretly feel embarrassed to receive all 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
Know that if you suffer from this, don’t feel alone since it’s estimated that over one half of the most successful people in the world, has experienced varying degrees of this feeling, 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 suffers from this. This is what’s often referred to as the impostor syndrome.
Both men and women experience this, the only difference being, they respond to it differently. Women experience higher degrees of anxiety, although they’ve worked and competed just as hard to prove themselves, as their male counterparts.
Men who experience this, avoid situations where their weaknesses could potentially be exposed. Their motivation, is to always appear as strong and cocksure as possible. This by pursuing the activities, that only showcases their strengths.
Where This Originates
The feeling of inferiority, the “I don’t deserve this” syndrome, exists for a variety of reasons. When they were young for instance, there may have been extreme over protection or an extreme lack of attention, when it came to paternal care, that led to this development.
Another reason, may of been having friends or siblings that were non-supportive. This led to the belief that they weren’t like that much, making them feel like a failure, this for both men and women. What the lack of friends can do, is drain their confidence.
Career Stepping Stones
Feeling like an impostor for some, is considered just a rite of passage when it comes to building ones career. As individuals move up the chain of command in their profession, they become more skilled at their work.
Once doing so, you’d think that their self doubts would dissipate. After all, they must somewhat know what they’re doing, or otherwise they wouldn’t get promoted.
But it’s found that the opposite is true. Once someone progress through their career, and becomes more knowledgeable, they’re also given bigger responsibility. With bigger responsibility, comes the increased chance of failure.
When new at a job and mistakes are made, they’re usually not that drastic or are easily fixable. But once becoming an executive, mistakes can potentially cost ones job, or the business profits.
So it’s no wonder that some CEO’s have enormous egos or become narcissistic. This because they need to silence their persistent inner voice of self-doubt that they constantly hear, by putting up a big front.
The Best Way To Combat This
While there’s no real consensus on how to cure the imposter syndrome, of feeling inadequate, there is a wide range of extremely useful advice that’s given on the topic. It appears that there are several habits that one can adopt, to overcome these feelings.
• Acknowledge Your Own Success – Those who suffers from this syndrome, never internalizes their success, pat themselves on the back. They attribute it to either luck or receiving help from others.
So realize that your success and accomplishments are yours, regardless of how “lucky” you were, or how much help you got. Always 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, the fear of being exposed as a fraud, are all unpleasant feelings. Learn to tame down and moderate these anxious feelings, which should hopefully motivate you.
Accept that everyone, regardless of how successful they appear, all experiences bouts of self-doubt. It’s just part of becoming successful and being human. There’s nothing unusual about feeling inadequate.
• Controlling Your Own Thoughts – These feelings thrive, because of self doubt and criticism. The more fault that you place on yourself or your performance, the more that you think you’re unworthy.
Our brains are wired to just remember the negative things that happens in our lives, rather than all the positive wins, which is just a part of our evolution.
The reason being, that negative experiences usually have more severe consequences, or at times even life threatening outcomes, than what the positive ones do.