'I don’t deserve this'
'I don’t belong in this position'
'It wasn’t me, I just got lucky'
These are some of the thoughts that run through our minds when we doubt ourselves. But remember that you are not alone in these thoughts and feelings, known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
Most of us often doubt our skills and achievements, which can result in developing an internalised fear that we might be exposed as a fraud. And contrary to popular belief, this is very common, especially in highly competitive environments. It is said that 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at least once in their lives. The irony is that although most people doubt their self-worth, they end up feeling like the odd one out.
Imposter syndrome stems from feeling like your capabilities are lacking in comparison to your peers. Shockingly, Albert Einstein, the award-winning physicist, felt like an imposter in his own field of work. He felt that his work didn’t deserve the recognition that it received. “I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler”, he told a friend. Maya Angelou, a well-known poet said, “I have written 11 books but each time I think, uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out”.
It’s strange to see that even the world’s most brilliant minds have thoughts like these. This goes to show that we truly aren’t alone in our fears and feelings. Often we are blinded and only see the good parts of everyone else’s lives. We automatically assume that the lives of those around us are unproblematic and perfect. This is similar to scrolling through social media and thinking that everyone else has a lot of fun, while we’re stuck at work or school.
Since we can't control the way we feel, here are a few things that may help when the imposter syndrome is acting up:
Acknowledge your thoughts, but don’t give in to them. Talk to a friend, a relative, or anyone you trust about what you’re feeling. They’ll likely tell you about a similar situation in their life and make you feel better.
Remind yourself that the fear is not the end. Tell yourself that the fact that you’re feeling uncomfortable, means that you are learning and growing.
Fake it till you make it. If you’re feeling under-confident in your abilities, try to think that you’re super confident and show it through your actions.
Remember to give yourself more credit no matter how small the accomplishment. It’s not all luck!
Make sure to remind other people how special they are by complimenting them every once in a while. A tiny compliment can go a long way. It’s quite normal to feel like we don’t know anything sometimes. Don’t let that get in the way of chasing your dreams. In the end, we’re all in the same boat, and there are no imposters among us!