Two female psychologists first explored this phenomenon in 1978 when they both felt they weren't good enough while pursuing their graduate studies. The impostor syndrome is “the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications”. Here are some ideas on how to overcome it for a stronger and more positive outlook.
Don’t compare yourself to others
We all weigh our achievements against our peers. However, obsessively comparing yourself to others can lead to negative self-talk and creating an invalid assessment of reality. We can silence self-criticism by recognising our authenticity and value. “Society trains us to compare ourselves using outer, socially-constructed measures of success,” says leadership coach Kathy Caprino “but in reality, they’re culturally-derived ideas that won’t necessarily bring you personal joy and fulfillment, given your unique values and wants”.
Fall back on your support group
When running low on self-esteem, experts suggest turning to our circle of trust, whether a friend, mentor or colleague for positive reinforcement. Talking through internal battles with a trusted listener will help clear our thoughts and illuminate new perspectives. “It’s natural to lose our confidence from time to time,” explains Dorothy Enriquez, a communication strategist “but we must find cheerleaders who can remind us of who we are so we can get out of our own way and get our work done.”.
Celebrate small gains
Most people think of success as a big event, such as climbing Everest or earning an award. In truth, our great achievements are the result of many minor, incremental improvements compounded over time. When working towards a goal, remember to celebrate the small steps, share your win with others, or reward yourself for the progress. This will help you stay motivated along the journey!