How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome 

 “How on Earth did I get this promotion?” 
“If I didn’t do it by myself, how could I take credit for it?” 
“Am I an imposter?” 

Believe it or not, these are the questions on the minds of 70% of people in the UK according to a 2011 article published in the International Journal of Behavioural Science. We’ve all been there, where we’ve questioned our success and tried to pin our wins on external factors, even to the point where we wince at the idea of receiving praise or reward for excellent work. The question is why?  

Psychologist and Author of The Imposter Cure, Jessamy Hibberd, recently joined us at the London Business Forum to answer this question for our members, teaching us how we can overcome our fears and start owning our rightfully earned success.  

Jessamy highlights, “The funny thing about Imposter Syndrome is that it is much more likely to affect high achieving, highly competent people, as opposed to genuine imposters”. In most cases, people suffering from imposter syndrome tie their sense-of-self to work. This is simply because they care so deeply about their work, they just want to do well. This can leave room for insecurity when things don’t seem to go our way. 

What exactly is Imposter Syndrome? 

A phenomenon in which people believe they are not worthy of success and have a persistent belief in their lack of ability, skills or competence. Despite evidence to the contrary.

Clance & Imes, 1978

The last bit of that definition is the most important to remember: “Despite evidence to the contrary”. We so often spend time focusing on the negatives and “what ifs”, but forget to highlight and recognise all the amazing work we have put in to get where we are. These are the positives we should be reminding ourselves about every day. 

How can I overcome Imposter Syndrome?  

Some key takeaways from the event were that you should: 

  1. Acknowledge you’re not alone. We don’t know what others are thinking, so, try not to imagine that everyone else is all-knowing. Everyone has moments where they question themselves and that just means you’re no less amazing than anyone else if you do! 
  1. Know you are where you are because you’re you. You’re usually hired or promoted because you have the skills or capability to perform a role, not because you already know exactly what you’re doing. There is always something to learn in a new position, so you’re not expected to know it all.  
  1. See your success. Write down a list of your achievements and place them somewhere you’ll remember to look. Remind yourself of all the great things you have done that make you worthy of your success. What has gotten you to this point? Big and small things. Don’t forget achievements outside of work too. 

If you’d like the opportunity to develop your positive mindset further, or, rewatch the entire event with Jessamy Hibberd in our learning hub, then maybe a membership with London Business Forum is for you!  

If you’re interested, check out Jessamy’s website to learn more about the great work she does here 

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