You might have heard of the common phenomenon known as “imposter syndrome,” which is when a person achieves something but feels like a fraud in the process.
If you’ve ever been doing well in school, making great progress at work, or accomplishing goals in your personal life and been struck by the nagging feeling that you’re not actually qualified to be doing it … you’re probably experiencing imposter syndrome.
You’re not alone
This is a very widespread feeling that can impact people from all backgrounds and in virtually any aspect of life.
As meditation instructor Dora Kamau explained the phenomenon: “Despite the accolades, the accomplishments, or all of the hard work you put into being wherever you are in your career and your life, you still don’t believe that you’re good enough, that you belong, or that you’re capable of doing the work and showing up.”
Some estimates suggest that more than 8 in 10 people have had this feeling at some point.
Steps you can take
If you’re one of the many people who have experienced imposter syndrome, it might be a difficult notion to shake. Fortunately, there are a few mental tricks you can use to help steer your mind in a healthier direction.
Here’s what Kamau suggests:
- Treat yourself with kindness. Instead of thinking the worst about your abilities, practice giving yourself grace.
- Live in the moment. Steer clear of judging yourself too harshly and simply focus on doing your best in the current situation.
- Write down your thoughts. Sometimes it’s easier to really grasp what you’re dealing with when you can read it on paper.
- Tell someone about it. Sharing your insecurities with a trusted friend or therapist can be a big source of catharsis.