Hi my name is Claire, and like 70% of the population, I suffer from Imposter Syndrome.
the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
In my career I was recently thrust into a promotion, a one that I feel unworthy of. It doesn’t help that for the most part I was offered the role because I was the ‘cheap’ and ‘convenient’ option, but I also feel that I am lacking in the capabilities to manage a team. Let alone handle everything else that comes along with it.
However, I am acknowledging this, and using this awareness of my feelings of guilt and self-doubt to be honest – if I don’t know how to do something, instead of doing what I would usually do, and pretend I can and fudge my way through it, I’m admitting ‘I don’t know how to do that, I need help’.
This has always been a part of my sport, and is in part why I hate certificates, because I feel like a fraud every time I get one – but with a recent team loss, what came with that were the most immense feelings of shame and guilt for not being able to live up the expectations on the team, but also on myself. Yes, I play a team sport, but feeling like you have faked your way to where you are stands for many of us, in many aspects or our lives.
So to help with this, I keep a written record of actual accomplishments. That way I can see in my own words so that I have real tangible evidence that I am worthy of where I am, and how others perceive me. On the most part the perceptions and praise of others is where the syndrome, for me, come from – it exaggerates the feeling of being a fraud, as if I’ve made everyone somehow believe this ‘successful’ lie and one day I’ll get found out and everyone will hate me for making them believe it.
This is why I’m now admitting when I can’t, that way it dulls the pressure on myself to live up to the expectations I believe everyone has on me. They won’t feel like I’ve made them believe I’m capable because I’m telling them at those first feelings of inadequacy that I can’t do it. This lowers their expectations and reduces my stress of failure.
How do you handle it?