Have you ever felt like a fraud? Like your achievements, how you got to where you are now, your relationships, the money you earn, even your social media followers are all a fluke and you don’t deserve any credit whatsoever?
Yeah, me too.
If you’ve ever experienced imposter syndrome, then these may sound familiar:
- You think your colleagues and supervisors overestimate you
- You self-sabotage due to your fear of failure
- You don’t ask for more money because you don’t think you’re worth it
- No matter how hard you work, or how many achievements you get, you still feel incompetent
Put simply, imposter syndrome is more than self-doubt, it’s self-depreciation. It’s feeling like a fraud and thinking that everyone is going to find out. Or that you simply don’t deserve your accomplishments and one day they will be taken back because they were a mistake in the first place.
At some point in our lives, many of us will experience imposter syndrome, and what’s more, it may be more common for us introverts than it is for extroverts.
Why? Because introverts live from the inside out, we constantly self-reflect, strive to get to know ourselves better, and grow. All of this is wonderful and we should celebrate our self-growth tendencies, but it can also backfire. If left to our own devices, introverts can self-reflect ourselves into our inner critic’s arms and develop imposter syndrome while there.
Nobody’s Talking About Their Imposter Syndrome
The good news is, it’s more common than you might think. Most people who experience imposter syndrome just simply never voice their struggles. We go about our daily lives in inner turmoil, without realizing that some of our coworkers, friends, and family are doing exactly the same thing.
People who experience imposter syndrome usually think that everyone else around them has also achieved similar things and are on the same level as them — even if it’s not true. For that reason, they don’t see their achievements as something to celebrate. Instead, they believe they don’t deserve recognition over others.
It doesn’t matter how large or small these achievements are, even people who have achieved amazing feats have dealt with imposter syndrome in their lives.
For example, introvert Natalie Portman said in her 2015 Harvard commencement speech: “I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999. I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”
Self-confessed introvert Emma Watson said: “When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted. It was just there. So now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an impostor. It was just something I did.”
So let’s tackle this problem once and for all, shall we? Here are four of my tried and tested techniques to beat imposter syndrome.
4 Techniques to Beat Imposter Syndrome
1. Talk about it.
As introverts, we tend to keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, but by making imposter syndrome a talked-about topic, we can normalize it. Start small and tell a close friend. Before you know it, you will find others around you who are experiencing the same thing — and this simple piece of information will help you feel like you’re not alone. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t have someone you can turn to IRL? If you’re an introverted woman who’s an entrepreneur, you’re invited to join my Facebook group.
2. Accept that you’ll never be perfect — and thank goodness for that!
Seeking perfection is utterly exhausting. There’s absolutely no need to be perfect at everything you do, and who would want that anyway? Because if you’re seeking perfection, you’ll never reach it, and you’ll always believe you’re a fraud.
It’s time to be imperfect and revel in it. Think about how much time you’ll save seeking the impossible and how much more time you now have to do the things you actually love.
If you’re going for perfect all the time, it may well be someone else’s version of perfect. Make sure you’re living for yourself, your fulfillment, and your happiness. Take a moment to write down your life vision, what you want to achieve, do, and become — things that are only for you.
When you do this, it will strip away your desire to be perfect, and instead grow your desire to be authentically and imperfectly you.
3. Know that you’ve had a big part to play in where you are now.
This is the big one — you got to where you are now because of you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had help along the way, it doesn’t matter if somebody taught you your skills, or gave you a leg up.
You said yes to opportunities, you learned new things, you did the work, put in the time (doesn’t matter how much of it). Yes, it may be hard to realize, or even accept, but it’s so important.
Write down all your successes to date on a piece of paper. Then write down all the things you did (only you) to get there. Stick it somewhere you can see daily.
4. Remember that nobody knows what they’re doing.
The world works by people trying and failing and getting back up again and trying again.
Everyone around us is constantly doing this, you’re not alone. It’s impossible to know what the people around you are thinking because they simply won’t voice their struggles. But you can bet that almost everyone you know is making it up as they go along.
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Isn’t that wonderful? Everyone you know has no idea what they are doing. If they did, the whole world would be automated, lacking in creativity, and we would accomplish nothing. So enjoy the idea that your boss, people on social media, whoever you compare yourself to, they’re also struggling and making it up as they go along too.
Imposter syndrome may be difficult to deal with, but we introverts can rest easy knowing that we’re not alone. Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? What are your techniques for dealing with it?