No doubt you’ve heard of Imposter Syndrome and have possibly even felt you’ve had it on occasion.
You know, times when you’ve felt that everyone will find out that you’re not up to scratch. That you’re not as smart as other people and you’re going to be found out.
I went to uni with a whole heap of people who thought they didn’t belong there….. that they weren’t smart enough …..that it was only a matter of time before everyone found out and they’d be kicked out.
Surprisingly, this was mostly in the PhD program.
This wasn’t normal self-doubt. This was a pervasive belief that was not changed even with loads of evidence to the contrary.
These were the people who had a string of High Distinctions on their academic transcript.
The people who topped the class in everything.
The people who very clearly deserved to be in that program.
Unlike normal self-doubt that pops up in situations like starting a new job, or doing something new, Imposter Syndrome hangs about telling you you’re rubbish all the time, no matter how good you actually are.
My Imposter Syndrome uni buddies would tell themselves that they had to work harder than anyone else…..that they studied more……that they didn’t ‘get’ it and had to try harder to understand.
And then they’d tell themselves that they were literally hanging by a thread…that it was all going to come crashing down around their ears…….because so far they had been lucky with exams and assignment topics…..or they had only done well because their lecturers/tutors liked them or felt sorry for them. The end of their luck run was imminent.
Having these beliefs creates a huge ball and chain around your ankle, holding you back.
The mental and emotional energy this takes is enormous.
And because of all those ‘excuses’ for success (it was luck, I worked harder than other people), there’s no gain in confidence from the actual successes.
Imagine how much that stops you doing.
Imagine how many things you might try if you weren’t being crushed under the weight of these negative self-beliefs.
The good news is you can change these beliefs.
But before we go there, stay tuned for the next article explaining the 5 different types of Imposter Syndrome.