How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

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What is imposter syndrome? That is a question I found myself asking just a few weeks ago, and here I am now, writing a blog post about it! I first heard someone on Instagram talk about it in a video, I can’t even remember who now. But the first thing I did was google it because I recognised some of the emotions she was describing. 

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. 

Since first hearing about imposter syndrome, the more I’m noticing people talking about it and I’ve realised just how common these feeling are. It affects more women than men, and studies have shown that around 70% of people develop these feelings at some point in their life. 

For me, it began last October when I left my 10 year career as an Insurance Underwriter to pursue my blog full time. Once I handed in my notice at work (I was on a three month notice period), I couldn’t wait to have all the time in the world to take my blog to the next level, but to be completely honest it’s taken me much longer than expected to settle into my new routine. I found myself looking at other full-time bloggers and comparing myself to them, which in turn made me think twice about my own content. It sounds absolutely ridiculous writing this down but I started to believe if I couldn’t produce the most perfect, professional and breathtaking content, why would anyone want to follow me. 

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I stopped posting on my blog as much, as I found myself being so over critical of myself because I wanted everything to be perfect. The pressure of proving myself to those who doubted me also affected my work, too. Most of all, it’s the fear of failing that has affected me the most. I just feel so incredibly lucky to have turned my hobby into my job, something I’ve dreamt about for years, that I’m worried one day it will all be taken away from me. 

So, instead of allowing this to get the better of me, a few weeks ago I started making a few changes to alter my mindset, and get myself back on track. To stop with the negativity and wake up each morning with a grateful, positive heart. 

Here are some of the changes I’ve been making:

Gratitude journal

I bought a gratitude journal last year and wrote in it regularly, but I stopped around 6 months ago. I’ve recently dusted off my journal and have been writing in it every morning over a cup of coffee. I write down 3 people I’m grateful for and 3 things I’m grateful for, and it instantly puts everything into perspective.  

Celebrate success

When I take a step back and look at where I am now compared to where I was a year ago, it makes me feel angry for doubting myself. I should be celebrating every success along the way, however big or small they are. Gary Vaynerchuk (one of my favourite people for motivation and inspiration) always says it’s about the journey, not the end goal. 

Screenshot or make a note of positive feedback

It’s easy to focus more on the negative comments or thoughts you may have about yourself, but in reality, the positive ones outweigh the negative. Now and again I receive the kindest, loveliest messages from my followers which I’ve started screenshotting to refer back to when I need a boost. I’m obviously providing some form of value to be receiving these messages, and that is what I need to remember. 

Gratitude journals:

Stop comparing myself to others

This is one of the most important changes for me, because it’s the biggest trigger for my self-doubt. I look at super successful people and instantly want to be in their position. How stupid! I now remind myself that those people have got where they are through hard work and years of commitment and patience. Imagine all the energy I’ve wasted on comparing myself to others, when I could have channeled that energy into my own work. This is where I’ve noticed the biggest shift in my mindset! 

Life is too short!

An obvious one here, but something I do remind myself every single day. I don’t want to waste another day with unnecessary worry and putting off something yet again! Not anymore!

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Part of imposter syndrome is feeling like you’re a fraud, and that you’re not 100% sure on what you’re set out to do. Well what I’ve realised is this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! A large percentage of successful people started their journey by taking a risk into the unknown and working the arses off to make it happen for them. I love the quote ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and I truly believe you have to expose yourself to fear in order to grow!

When I was researching about imposter syndrome, I read somewhere “if you’ve been given these opportunities then someone out there counts you as worthy”, and it really stuck with me.

I’m talking to whoever is reading this right now, you are so deserving of everything you have. Lets not waste another minute doubting our achievements and future goals, and instead find the drive within us to continue with a positive mindset!