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  • Jenni Schierman

EVER FELT LIKE AN IMPOSTER?



There is a fairly well known, psychological term called imposter syndrome. This is common in highly successful, driven individuals. Often the very same people that I find myself working with.

A research article describes it as: a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.

People that are experiencing this often credit their success to luck rather than their own intelligence, skill or hard work. They have trouble internalizing the accomplishments and therefore look for outside justifications for their success.

This isn’t something that they want to talk about either. Let’s be real, who wants to have a conversation about the fact that they may not have it all together? It’s an uncomfortable thing to admit.

Hiding these feelings can lead to anxiety, depression and increased issues with confidence.

WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE?

When first researched, it was believed that women were more prone to this than men. Studies since then have proven that this is not unique to women.

Those that differ greatly from their peers may be more susceptible. This could be in terms of race, gender or sexual orientation. Those that pursue greater levels of higher education are also uniquely susceptible.

Additionally, perfectionism and imposter syndrome have been shown to have correlations.

WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS?

1. Anxiety – As I mentioned above it is common for people with imposter syndrome to experience depression and anxiety. It is stressful to experience these feelings and they often manifest as anxiety.

2. Confidence or Self Regard Issues – Persistent self-doubt and the fear that you are going to be found out will take a toll on your overall self-confidence over time.

WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS?

1. Talk Things Through – Often your internalized thoughts when you are suffering from this will not be rational. When you experience a success or even a feeling of being not good enough, seek out a safe person to talk this through. Learning to understand the difference between reality and the internal “judge” in your head can be powerful for you. You can practice this with a friend, partner or therapist.

2. Celebrate Success – Because you have a tendency to minimize and even downplay success try to celebrate your wins, including the small ones for 60 days. Get in the habit of recognizing accomplishments and becoming more comfortable with the feeling of praise. Over time this will help to build your self regard.

3. Aim For Good Enough – If you are one of those that along with imposter syndrome also suffers from perfectionism, try to appreciate completing things “good enough”. Understand that no one is perfect and sometimes good enough, is good enough. How does it feel when the task is accomplished?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Not only do I work with those that suffer from imposter syndrome, I have experienced it personally. Additionally, I had the added challenge of being a bit (ok, a major) perfectionist to boot.

When I first started my business, I was getting tons of client calls and wasn’t converting any of them. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Until I had a session with one of my coaches.

We uncovered my imposter syndrome and the fact that I was intentionally (albeit a bit subconsciously) tanking my calls. Oh boy. So, if you were one of those calls, my apologies. It really was me, not you.

If you suffer from this, please reach out. I can help. It’s unpleasant to try to struggle through on your own. I’m happy to assist. Click here to schedule your complimentary call.

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