Home Health & Fitness These are the six ways to combat imposter syndrome, according to psychologists

These are the six ways to combat imposter syndrome, according to psychologists

0

[ad_1]

Feeling like a fraud despite career and personal success is holding millions of people back from reaching their full potential. 

The majority of people experience it at some point — over 80 percent, according to one study. 

Imposter syndrome, or imposterism, is the internal experience of feeling like a phony or that you don’t deserve the success you have achieved in life.

It can lead to constantly doubting your competence, fear of not living up to expectations, overachieving, and self-sabotage. 

‘People who have impostor feelings tend to minimize or doubt their achievements,’ Kevin Cokley, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, told DailyMail.com. 

A systematic review found that people experiencing imposter phenomenon often think they are the ‘only one’ having those feelings. The researchers also found links to feelings of anxiety and depression. 

Though the effect is widespread, imposterism is most common in women and other minority groups.  

However, there are simple ways to combat these feelings, experts told DailyMail.com.

The imposter phenomenon was coined by Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in their 1978 study. Clance had been hearing particularly female students confessing experiences that made them feel like imposters among their classmates. 

The researchers spent five years talking to 150 women who were generally considered ‘successful.’ 

The women in the sample were prone to ‘an internal experience of intellectual phoniness.’ 

They feared ‘some significant person will discover that they are indeed intellectual imposters. 

‘Now it’s taken on a life of its own and it’s something that a lot of people can feel,’ Carolyn Rubenstein, licensed psychologist in Florida, told DailyMail.com.

Racial and ethnic minorities also experience these feelings at higher rates. These groups often feel they are only in a place to provide diversity and not for their actual skillset. 

Cokley and colleagues conducted a study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology. The study found that discrimination led to feelings of imposter syndrome in ethnic and racial minority college students. 

‘For a majority person, it tends to just be about that person as an individual and that individual sort of internalizing doubts about their own capabilities. 

But when a person is a part of a minority group, a socially minority group, their feelings of impostorism are often linked to being a member of that group and the stereotypes that are associated with being a member of that group,’ Cokley said.

Document your successes

Documenting small successes on a weekly or monthly basis can help you focus less on failures and self doubt

Documenting small successes on a weekly or monthly basis can help you focus less on failures and self doubt

Keeping a short list of small accomplishments can help reinforce the idea that you are qualified- but don’t focus on the big stuff, Rubenstein said. 

‘Not just the awards or other things external to you, but what internal traits, or internal things have helped you to get to where you are.’ 

People tend to focus on failures over successes, so it becomes easier to internalize those and forget about everything you’re doing right, Rubenstein said. 

‘People don’t attend to their accomplishments and achievements the way that they should, or they sometimes forget, so if you are very intentional in recording them, then you will be reminded that you are, in fact, very worthy,’ Cokley said. 

Cokley suggested keeping a diary or a list and recording weekly or monthly small accomplishments. 

These could range from completing a task early to giving a presentation at a big meeting. 

Speak up more

Speaking up in the workplace could be as simple as making a suggestion in a meeting or asking for clarification on an assignment

Speaking up in the workplace could be as simple as making a suggestion in a meeting or asking for clarification on an assignment

‘When you feel like an imposter, you tend to stay pretty quiet and you don’t trust your own opinion or your own beliefs. You don’t trust yourself enough to say something,’ Rubenstein said. 

She suggested creating a list every week of things you want to say, such as in a meeting or to your boss, that you previously would not say otherwise. This could be a new idea for a project or a reservation about an assignment. 

This holds you accountable to speaking up more and gives you ‘concrete evidence that what you’re saying is helpful – you’ll start to feel more like you belong, your voice belongs, that you can trust your voice,’ Rubenstein said. 

Don’t focus on the negative

Rubenstein said it's natural to focus more on criticism than praise. 'We can recite anything negative off the tip of our tongue,' she said

Rubenstein said it’s natural to focus more on criticism than praise. ‘We can recite anything negative off the tip of our tongue,’ she said

Imposters tend to magnify the negatives in a situation, Rubenstein said. 

‘Any of those positive facts or evidence, we tend to kind of throw out in the garbage. But we can recite anything negative off the tip of our tongue. You’re probably not going to get rid of those negative feelings, but try as well to at least give as much airtime to the positive as well.’

‘It’s like using a mental highlighter to highlight those and creating a list for yourself, even if it’s a note of just keeping track of the positive stuff,’ Rubenstein said. Even the little things count. 

Stop apologizing so much

When handing in a piece of work, don't immediately focus on the what might be incorrect about it. It 'just reinforces for yourself that sense that you're doing something wrong,' Rubenstein said

When handing in a piece of work, don’t immediately focus on the what might be incorrect about it. It ‘just reinforces for yourself that sense that you’re doing something wrong,’ Rubenstein said

‘When someone is in a situation where they feel like they’re a fraud, or they don’t know enough, they tend to apologize nonstop,’ Rubenstein said. ‘Apologizing just reinforces for yourself that sense that you’re doing something wrong and for others as well.’

Focus on only apologizing when it’s actually warranted, such as making a mistake or calling someone the wrong name, Rubenstein said. When handing in work, don’t immediately apologize for the font or paper not being correct, for example. 

Spending too much time apologizing can also make superiors or peers express doubt about your competence since you appear less confident. 

Talk to others

Being open about feelings of imposterism can help you feel less alone. However, Marks advised caution when talking to your boss about it. 'That can make people lose confidence in your abilities,' she said

Being open about feelings of imposterism can help you feel less alone. However, Marks advised caution when talking to your boss about it. ‘That can make people lose confidence in your abilities,’ she said

‘Too often, people with imposterism suffer in silence,’ Cokley said. ‘They don’t want to share their feelings or disclose their vulnerabilities because if they’re in a very competitive environment, they don’t want to be seen as not worthy or showing some sort of weakness.’

Being open with peers and coworkers can help mitigate that anxiety. ‘When you’re honest about your feelings of imposterism, you’ll likely find that you are not alone and that many other individuals are also struggling with or dealt with those feelings. It can be very validating to know that you are not alone in that regard,’ Cokley said. 

However, there can be drawbacks to being so open, particularly in a work environment. 

‘That can make people lose confidence in your abilities, even if you have the abilities. Like they want someone who can, who can take something and own it and not have to be have their back patted all the time to keep going,’ Tracey Marks, author of Why Am I So Anxious, told DailyMail.com. 

Marks said that some bosses are better at managing employees with imposter feelings than others. Ultimately, she said, it’s up to you to make sure the everything in a work environment is still getting done. 

Rubenstein suggested asking for help from people both inside and outside of that environment, so not only coworkers but also friends and other peers. 

Ask for help

If imposterism leads to feelings of depression or anxiety, Cokley recommended seeking help from a licensed mental health professional

If imposterism leads to feelings of depression or anxiety, Cokley recommended seeking help from a licensed mental health professional

‘We don’t ask because we’re afraid that asking for help looks like looks like a weakness,’ Rubenstein said. 

Rubenstein suggested starting small. For example, if something is unclear in an assignment, ask for clarification. ‘You’ll start to realize that it’s it’s okay to not know everything. And that’s actually more the norm than than not,’ Rubenstein said. 

If imposterism begins interfering with your daily life and exacerbating mental health problems, consider reaching out for professional help. Cokley recommended seeking out a licensed therapist, ‘especially when you find that your impostor feelings are disruptive in some way, because we know that these feelings can be linked to increased feelings of depression and anxiety.’

[ad_2]

Source link