Ever felt like a fraud? Maybe you’ve done something at work and wondered in disbelief how you manage to pull it off. Maybe you think people overestimate your abilities. Maybe you simply feel that the majority of people around you know more than you do. Maybe most things you achieve go along with thoughts like ‘I hope I don’t get found out.’
In psychology, ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is the name given to the feeling experienced by people who appear confident but secretly feel like a fraud and have concerns about being found out.
The syndrome is not however officially recognised as a psychological disorder. It makes sense to me that it wouldn’t because the condition sounds to me a lot like a case of ‘low self-belief’. I see it all the time in coaching and I believe it’s something that everyone, to varying degrees, deals with.
Maybe I can’t speak for everyone. I can speak for many of my clients and I can definitely speak for myself. Just yesterday I tried a new coaching technique. Even for a first go, it went well but I almost didn’t attempt it because it felt very foreign to me. It was not something I would normally do and I had a sense that I was ‘not being me’. It worked and I got a great result and there was also a sense afterwards of ‘I can’t believe I pulled that off’. But I did pull it off and I feel (at least a bit) more confident about doing it again in the future.
If you’re dealing with a little, or even a lot, of self-doubt, the trick will be to not let it debilitate you. Questioning yourself and having some self-doubt can be healthy. If you’re having any feelings of being a fraud know that there’s a good chance you may have Imposter Syndrome AND KNOW that probably most, if not all, of the people around you have it to some degree too!
If you find that you’re regularly holding yourself back from opportunities and/or feeling overly anxious, know that this is worth exploration. Know that when you hold yourself back, you miss out on opportunities and the world misses out on you. So for everybody’s benefit, explore the causes of your low self-belief and learn techniques for dealing with it.
You don’t need to have all of the answers all of the time. My experience is the people who question you and imply that you need to have all of the answers are the people who are even more likely to have a case of Imposter Syndrome so don’t take it personally.
Strive to be your best and know that your best is always, always a work in progress.