Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Thrive

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. - Lao Tzu

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Have you ever felt as though, no matter how much you’ve achieved and progressed in life, you don’t truly deserve them?

There is no reason to deny that Imposter Syndrome (also known as Imposter Phenomenon) is highly prevalent in the corporate world.

Each day, successful professionals, artists and entrepreneurs break the glass ceiling and accomplish things most people would merely dream of. Yet, they constantly struggle to own their achievements feeling like they don’t deserve their hard-earned accomplishments. Some of them go as far as believing that everything is merely a “stroke of luck.”

In this video from TEDEd, narrator Elizabeth Cox explains how feeling like a fraud undermines self-confidence.        

What exactly is an Imposter Syndrome?

It is a feeling of being inadequate or a fraud in your current professional position despite the fact that you have a proven track record of accomplishments. If you constantly feel that you will be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, then you are struggling from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome affects most successful people around the world including entrepreneurs. And, this phenomenon strikes right when you are about to start a new endeavour or project, be recognised for your expertise or reach professional heights due to your past experiences.

Inadequacy, self-doubt, dip in confidence and/or fraudulence are some of the common feelings one experiences when dealing with imposter syndrome. The key is to disallow these feelings to undermine our growth and opportunities in life. Instead, there is wisdom in recognising these feelings and moving past them by focussing on things that matter.

So, everyone out there grappling with Imposter Syndrome, believe that you are talented, capable and completely deserving of everything you have earned in your life thus far. It is time to let go self-limiting tendencies and make way for bigger dreams and wins to thrive in life. 

Three Steps to Get Over Imposter Syndrome

1. First, initiate a conversation

The sure-fire technique to quiet your inner critic is to talk about your inner ramblings. While this is easier said than done as many people hesitate to open a conversation and share their feelings. The underlying fear is that the feedback they receive from others would only reaffirm their concerns.

However, often when people open up about their feelings, they learn that they are not alone and there are many out there struggling with similar inner experiences.    

Knowing that there are friends and acquaintances who’ve also been through the same thing brings clarity and relief to those suffering from imposter syndrome.

2. Believe in positive experiences

Most of us disregard recognition and compliments we receive for our work & vividly remember criticisms. The next time someone appreciates you, accept it gracefully and allow yourself to truly appreciate the feedback.

Once you are aware of what limits your ability to believe in positive experiences, you can combat your own imposter syndrome by revisiting the positive feedback shared by others.  

By making a consistent effort to listen to and reflect on positive encouragement shared by others, you will be able to soothe your inner critic whenever self-doubt pops up.

3. Finally, know that you are not alone

Be open to conversations that can help alleviate feelings of imposterism. This may not entirely fade; however, it will build your inner wisdom towards dealing with common experiences. Through these conversations and revelations, you will realise that you are not alone in your journey to combat your insecurities.

For example, building a strong awareness around academic or professional limitations – knowing that failures and mistakes can take place due to technical failure as well, as opposed to competence alone is necessary to thriving with confidence.

Final Thoughts

Make an attempt to get out of your way especially when life has many opportunities to offer on the horizon. Build a strong network. Find avenues to showcase and nurture your talent. Your self-doubt is your biggest impediment to your success. It is time to jump over self-sabotaging behaviour and reach your full potential.

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