Have you ever felt you are not worthy of your position, you feel like a fraud, out of your depth maybe. Impostor syndrome as it’s known is a common complaint, with as much as 70% of the worlds population being affected by it at some point.
Impostor syndrome can occur because of the natural tendency for self doubt, a fear you lack enough competence, a lack of confidence in your own ability.
It can also come from the perception that experts in your field are looking down on you or are more masterful or knowledgeable than you.
The consequences of these feelings can lead to procrastination, where you delay shipping until whatever you’re working on is as perfect as it can be. If it’s not perfect, everyone will know you are a fraud.
You might find yourself undermining your achievements, to prevent the fraud from being realised by others.
A deep seated fear of failure may cause stress and anxiety, after all you don’t want others to discover the fraud you are.
You might play-down praise, because you and your work are really not worth it.
So how do you reduce these feelings of being an impostor? Well meeting your fears head on and seeking out peer feedback can be the first step, although this can also be the scariest approach. Alternatively seek out a mentor to help you through the psychological mind field.
Give yourself a break, you’re doing your best, we all are. Try to make incremental improvements as you go. Try to get better each day.
Realise that luck and chance play a bigger role in your success as well as that of others than you give it credit for. Few masters have got where they are from deliberate planning alone. Practice does make perfect, in time, and there are no shortcuts, you’ve just got to put in the work. Opt for purposeful practice, find the best way it can be done, rather than the best way you can do it.
If you’re doing something worthy, something new, there is no blue print, you’re treading new ground, so don’t worry about being an impostor because at this point you have to be.
You’re unique, with unique experiences, traits and views so utilise these to give your work something nobody else can.
Seth Godin says “Time spent fretting about our status as impostors is time away from dancing with our fear, from leading and from doing work that matters.”
We’re all impostors! So what? It’s not so much about us anyway, as it is about the work we do, so focus your attention on that alone.
For more about motivation, check out our motivational guide.