I read an article recently which I thought made an excellent comment on imposter syndrome. It said, “The strange thing is that the more expert you become in a field, the stronger your feeling of impostorism.”
Imposter syndrome – that feeling of being a fraud – is probably more common than you realise. There are very few people who are so convinced of their own abilities that they can sail on ahead without any self-doubt.
If you’re like the rest of us, your belief system is fuelling your feeling of impostorism. These three beliefs are the main contributors to making you feel like a fake. If you recognise them in yourself, it’s time to change the way you think.
I’m not expert enough: You feel like there’s a lot more you need to learn before you can call yourself an expert. It’s believed to be Einstein who said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” The problem is that it’s hard to define when you’ll become an expert in your own eyes. Knowledge and learning are infinite, so the goalposts will always shift. It’s time to change your definition of an expert. You don’t have to know everything about your field. Nobody ever will, but a true expert never stops learning. Accept that YOU are an expert because you know more about the topic than anyone else around you. You have value to add to the world around you.
If I make a mistake, they’ll see me as a fraud: Why do we think this? Every person on the planet makes mistakes. We’re human. It’s part of our DNA. Being an expert isn’t always about knowing the answer: it’s about knowing how to find it. Imagine how many mistakes Einstein made as he was formulating his theories? Do you see him as a fraud? Do you think any less of him? Making a mistake won’t damage your credibility: doing nothing because you’re afraid to be wrong certainly will.
I’m the only fake around here: When you feel like an imposter, you tend to separate yourself from the group, so you won’t be found out. Have you ever asked your work colleagues if they feel like a fraud? You may be surprised to find that some of the people you most respect have felt exactly the way you do. Imposter Syndrome is especially common in high achievers, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Find a mentor or coach who will talk honestly with you on the topic. It’s the best way to get a clear view of the way your thinking is being clouded and what to do about it.
You don’t have to keep living with the fear of being found out. You’re not an imposter. You deserve the success you’ve worked for. It’s time you started to enjoy it.
What can you do right now to start changing your way of thinking?