Written by:
Christine Christodoulou

5 top tips on stopping
imposter syndrome and hitting
your goals in 2021!

‘They’re going to sack me.’ ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ ‘Everyone is going to find out I don’t belong here.’

Most of us will have experienced feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point or another. However, when those feelings start to impact you on a regular basis and make you question your own achievements or the worth of your position in life, it’s time to take action – you could be experiencing imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome? What’s that?

Impostor syndrome comes down to the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck and not because of your talent or qualifications.

People who experience imposter syndrome are often crippled with anxiety and self-doubt. Sufferers feel a constant fear of being exposed and that they’re an imposter and they don’t belong.

Sound familiar? Well, it seems you wouldn’t be alone. It has been estimated that nearly 70% of individuals will experience signs and symptoms of impostor phenomenon at least once in their life.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life either, research from Heriot-Watt University found that more than a third (36%) of leaders and CEOs experience frequent or high levels of ‘Impostor Syndrome’.

Some of the key characteristics include:
• Self-doubt
• An inability to realistically assess your competence and skills
• Attributing your success to external factors
• Berating your performance
• Fear that you won’t live up to expectations
• Overachieving and burnout
• Sabotaging your own success
• Setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short

How do we combat those feelings?
We were recently joined by Sam Griesel on “Don’t Fear the F Word” in December where we discussed imposter syndrome and fear of failure. She shared some great advice – we’ll break down some of it here…

Remember! Success and failure come hand in hand.
You can’t have one without the other. Some of the most successful people in your life will have experienced failure on some level. A common theme when we speak to our founder guests on “Don’t Fear the F Word” is that the failures they’ve experienced have enabled them to grow, and be successful in the future. Don’t fear those moments and berate yourself when they happen, learn what happened and how to make it better in the future.

Learn to make friends with your inner critic.
We all have an inner critic. It’s there for a reason and you shouldn’t ever silence it. Self-criticism on a small scale can be healthy. It’s when our inner critic controls our actions and stops us meeting our goals that it becomes a problem. Psychologist Sam told us we should try to change the dynamic of the relationship with our inner critic – understand you are the boss and you can try to control those feelings of self-doubt. Try and turn the criticism into constructive feedback that champions you to do better.

Separate feelings from fact.
Marie Forleo says, “Be humble – not knowing something doesn’t make you a fraud, it makes you a student”.

Realise that just because you may feel stupid, doesn’t mean you are, and it also doesn’t mean other people deem you stupid either.

Ask yourself, is there any real fact to why you feel the way you do? Or is a fear created by an overriding presence of your inner critic? Learn to separate the two.

Recognise your wins and celebrate them.
When you suffer from imposter syndrome your ‘wins’ and successes are often overshadowed by an overwhelming feeling of ‘it was luck’, ‘I didn’t really deserve to get that far’.

Start off small by celebrating the small wins, meeting a deadline, ticking off your to-do list, whatever it may be. Celebrating these small wins will build your confidence day by day and help you recognise your success when it comes to meeting your bigger objectives.

Don’t wait for the right time.
Don’t wait until you feel confident to start putting yourself out there. Courage comes from taking risks. Change your behaviour first and allow your confidence to build.

Watch footage from “Don’t Fear the F Word” with Psychologist Sam below…

Another key thing to remember is that you’re human, you’ll make mistakes. But, it’s not what you are that holds you back from achieving your goals, it’s what you think you are.

For more advice on recognising and overcoming imposter syndrome, watch our “Don’t Fear the F Word” webinar here.


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