Have you ever felt like you’re not enough? Or feel like a fake and fear being caught out? If you have, you’re not alone with 70% of people also experiencing these feelings which are known as imposter syndrome.
This syndrome is basically a name for chronic self-doubt, continuous insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy… or what I like to call the voice of the inner mean girl. These feelings don’t discriminate, they can affect everybody and anybody… just ask Zara, founder of Kind Cards who has shared her personal struggles with Imposter Syndrome – read her story here.
Everyone experiences feelings of self-doubt but for someone with Imposter Syndrome, this self-doubt is chronic. These individuals have extremely high self-expectations and put a huge amount of self-pressure on themselves; no matter how well they do or what they achieve they believe it was luck or simply a fluke.
Watch TED-Ed’s video to learn more about Imposter syndrome.
Overcoming the non-stop doubts and insecurities to finally beat your inner mean girl voice can be tricky as these voices are constant but our 8 tips will help you overcome Imposter Syndrome.
1 – Understand Your Mean Girl Imposter
By knowing what type of imposter you are, you will be able to help identify bad habits or self-sabotaging patterns and work on fixing them. Dr. Valerie Young has identified five different types of imposters;
This type of imposter sets excessively high goals for themselves which are often unrealistic or unachievable. When they fail to reach a goal or if there is a minor flaw, they experience major self-doubt and shame.
The Superwoman and Superman
These superheros juggle many roles and projects as they feel the need to prove their worth. They feel they should be able to handle everything easily and perfectly and feel ashamed if they ever do drop the ball.
This type of imposter believes asking for help is admitting they are a failure as they feel they should be able to accomplish things by themselves.
The Natural Genius
The genius is similar to the perfectionist as they also have extremely high expectations on themselves which are again also unrealistic. This imposter feels failure and shame when they’re not able to master something easily or fast.
This type of imposter hoards information as they gain validation for “how much they know” and fear being exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable. They expect to know everything and feel they are a failure if they don’t have the answer.
2 – Recognise your feelings
Feelings are natural but not always right; you may do something that makes you feel stupid but just because you feel this way does not make you suddenly dumb. Separate your feelings from facts to get a clearer perspective of the situation. Journaling is a great tool to track your thoughts and feelings and will also help you get a better understanding of how you think and what your inner mean girl is saying.
“You let it out, honey… put it in the book.” – Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls the Movie
3 – Be kind to yourself
No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes so remember to be kind to yourself when you occasionally do make them and forgive yourself.
Being kind to yourself should also extend to the words you speak to yourself regularly not just when you make a mistake. Did you know your brain will believe anything you tell it?
So, what this means is the more self-doubts you have, the more likely you are going to keep having these same negative thoughts. Likewise, the more kind and encouraging thoughts you have, the more these types of thoughts will start to occur. Use our self-love bingo sheet and start practicing using kind words.
4 – Celebrate the wins
Imposters, especially perfectionists find success is rare as they always think they could have done things better. Learn to celebrate your wins even the small ones! Doing this will help build your motivation and spur you on. Everyone likes to celebrate with a party but avoid the mean girl pity parties and avoid getting caught up on the things you didn’t win.
“You GO Glen Coco.” – Damian Leigh from Mean Girls the Movie
5 – Reset the bar
Review your goals and expectations – are they realistic? What would you truthfully need to do to achieve them? What may you need to sacrifice to get to your goal? Having unrealistic goals is only going to add pressure and may lead to you feeling disappointed even if you do achieve something great. Consider more than just the outcome you are trying to achieve and reset your goals to be realistic.
6 – Never lose attitude
Reframe failure in your mind as only a minor setback. Reflect on any “failures” as a learning opportunity by looking at what went wrong, why and what you need to do to move forward in your goal. Beating yourself up because you haven’t achieved what you wanted will only feed your doubts and won’t get you any closer to smashing your goal so don’t waste your time doing it.
7 – On a roll
Momentum feeds motivation. The more you do, the more you start to feel confident and keep moving forward to what you are trying to achieve. Often with imposter syndrome you feel not worthy, so you begin to self-sabotage with thoughts and actions and in some cases in-action; you don’t do anything as you fear judgement. By starting and continuing to move, you are overcoming these “freeze” feelings.
8 – Talk about it
Some people feel shame about their insecurities and try to guard their feelings as a secret. Everyone needs help, recognise that you can seek assistance and that you don’t have to do everything alone.