No, it’s not good looks, humour, IQ or anything that you may assume makes an individual more likely to be successful, rather it’s almost the complete opposite of a positive trait. It is the ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
Identified in 1978 by psychologists the ‘imposter syndrome’ is an overwhelming mind-trap which creates a feeling that you don’t deserve your success. And, unlike many anxiety issues, which are typically helped the better you do, this syndrome is exacerbated the more success you have – many suffers believe their achievements are down to luck; right time, right place.
The syndrome means the sufferer more often than not carries a fear of being exposed. If this sounds like you take comfort in the fact that over 70% of successful individuals believe this of themselves at some point. Nuts huh – we can’t all be frauds!
Dr Valerie Young an expert on the subject, has categorised 5 types of people who typically suffer with the syndrome, which include:
- Natural Geniuses
- Highly independent individuals
If you feel like an imposter you are in good company – even Einstein felt this way!
The good news is there are a few tricks to overcome these gremlins in the mind, as that is at its core exactly what it is – it’s thoughts, not reality.
Change your own rules
If you believe you should never ask for assistance or should always know the answer, join the rest of us mere mortals and accept we cannot do everything and need help and no-one knows everything. Relax, give someone else the chance to help/teach you – you’ll make their day I bet!
Fly by the seat of your pants and recognise it’s a skill
There are times when we all have to ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ and it’s not because you’re inept, rather you have the courage to put yourself out there and do something for which you may not currently have all the answers – that’s impressive – accept you have a skill and spirit many envy.
Give yourself a break
Rather than berate yourself for things you don’t know or do, how about you reward yourself instead. Seriously, validate yourself – you’re brilliant and doing a great job – you don’t have to be perfect – no one is!