Do you feel like an imposter? Or even a fraud? Then you are in good company. Up to 70% of people are said to have this experience at some point. And this includes some well known names. Tom Hanks, the award winning actor, is reputed to have had this experience as well as J-Lo. And many others.
So what is it exactly? An imposter is ‘A person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others.’ It’s nothing to do with your actual ability and, in fact, it is often highly capable people who are more prone to this.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s a hollow feeling that makes you question your greatest dreams and aspirations. The feeling that is capable of stopping you dead in your tracks in life and steers you gently back into your comfort zone as it promises the path of least resistance.
We all like our comfort zone. It’s safe, right? But no-one gets anywhere by staying comfy and safe. In order to achieve the great things you are truly capable of, you need to step outside of that comfort zone and acknowledge that these feelings and thoughts are irrational and based in fear.
Have these thoughts entered your mind?
“I just feel useless all the time”
“I’m a fraud”,
“I’m a cheat”,
“I’m just unlucky”,
“Everybody knows what they’re doing except me”,
“I don’t know enough to…”,
“I put myself out there as being a lot better than I really am.”
“I’m not good enough to…”,
“I don’t have enough experience to…”,
Do these thoughts chase each other round your head when you’re awake at 3am? Do they tell you that you’re wrong, incapable, or somehow not good enough?
Perhaps you have imposter thoughts that are specific to you? But the common result of these thoughts is that we hold ourselves back, miss out on opportunities we are deserving of and don’t achieve the things we are truly capable of. And when you think about that, it’s really kind of sad, don’t you think?
Why do people experience impostor syndrome?
There isn’t a definitive answer to this question. Some experts believe it stems from personality traits such as anxiety or neuroticism. Others, however, feel that there are familial, behavioural, or environmental causes for the condition.
It often happens to people who are in a toxic relationship too.
Once you’ve learned how to overcome this challenge to your deeper self, you can start to explore how life can be different. When you fall asleep at night, you’ll be looking forward to the day ahead with full anticipation; you’ll feel confident in your abilities and know deep down that not only are you worthwhile, but that you can achieve your goals and be at peace inside. instead of worrying about ever being found out.
You can start to look for new opportunities, explore areas of interest and engage more fully wherever you are. Instead of putting up with your current job, you’ll feel able to apply for promotion or better still, look elsewhere.
Our behaviour is made up not only of our thoughts but our feelings and emotions. These are influenced mainly by our time as a child. Because the brain is pseudo-plastic, we can change the way we process information in a way which is more supportive of ourselves.
By opening to the possibility that you are far more than you had thought possible, you can live more successfully and adaptively in the present.