Success Isn’t Luck; It’s You!
Do you have feelings or worries your co-workers or friends will think you’re a fraud? Do you often feel as though you don’t belong? Success isn’t luck, and these are feelings of “impostor syndrome”. A surprising number of successful people experience this in their lives.
Impostor syndrome can cause you to feel you only accomplished your goals because of luck. Perhaps you think you aren’t as good as others think you are, and so you also worry you’ll be found out.
Research shows us both men and women battle impostor syndrome and are unable to acknowledge, own and enjoy their success.
What Is Impostor Syndrome?
Impostor syndrome is best described as the fear of being considered a fraud or of doubting one’s accomplishments. Even those who have reached a level of success in their chosen field are often full of anxiety and crippling thoughts of being considered a fraud. According to the Journal of Behavioral Science, it is estimated that 70% of people in the U.S. experience impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (IS) is a feeling you harbor that you believe you’re not as qualified as others may think you are. This is often connected to thoughts of perfectionism and can be applied to your intelligence or achievement. If you have feelings of being a fraud or that you did not deserve that raise, award or promotion, then you could be dealing with impostor syndrome.
Four Characteristics of Impostor Syndrome
Those who suffer with impostor syndrome doubt their own skills and accomplishments despite the obvious evidence of their success. Here are four common indicators you may be dealing with impostor syndrome.
- Deep-seated feelings of fear you aren’t able to meet expectations.
- Undermining your own achievements even when you worked diligently towards the goal.
- Setting unrealistic goals and then feeling disappointed if you do not meet those goals.
- Doubting yourself no matter what you’re working on or working towards.
If you identify with any of these, there some things you can do to move past these feelings. Begin by confronting your feelings and any beliefs you hold about yourself. If you struggle with any of this, consider speaking with a close friend or perhaps a professional. Confiding in someone can help you gain clarity about your feelings and beliefs.
Impostor syndrome can be ingrained in you as a child and can continue well into adulthood. Struggling with feelings of being a fraud can happen to anyone but is seen mostly in successful women. According to research done with Psycnet.apa.org, “despite their outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise.”
However, you can change your own life. For example, if they labeled you the “smart one” in your family, you could begin by recognizing a job well done in another area of your life. Perhaps trying out for a sports team or taking part in a community event can be the beginning of self-recognition and the shedding of your impostor syndrome feelings. Take time to recognize your own achievements, as this can build your self-esteem and help you shed that impostor label!
Five Patterns of Impostor Syndrome
According to the impostor expert Valerie Young and author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women”, there are five patterns that can be found in those who suffer from this phenomenon.
- You set unrealistic goals for yourself and are often considered a perfectionist.
- You are afraid to speak up or answer questions due to fear of not knowing the answer.
- You are afraid to ask for help because you think you’ll look like a failure to others.
- You feel like a fraud if the answer doesn’t come naturally.
- You push yourself harder than your peers in order to prove yourself.
Individuals who live with impostor syndrome think things happen to them because of luck rather than as a result of their own hard work or abilities. This leads to a cycle of negative thinking that can hold them back from moving ahead in their field. They may even end up working harder than necessary, which can sometimes lead to increased feelings of failure or even burnout.
Where Does Impostor Syndrome Come From?
Impostor syndrome can also come from receiving praise or acknowledgment for something that you didn’t deserve, and this can directly influence your thoughts of being a phony. There may be a variety of reasons why you battle thoughts of feeling like a fraud or have the feeling of being an impostor in your life.
Impostor syndrome can hinder your self-esteem and even keep you from trying new activities in life. If you frequently battle feelings where you don’t deserve recognition for a job well done, then you could be living with it. It is reported that many successful individuals are known to have this syndrome without realizing it.
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
If you’re living with impostor syndrome, you may struggle with accepting your own success. Perhaps you feel you don’t deserve your position or an award for an accomplishment. If you can relate to this, then here are some suggestions about how you can make adjustments to help fix your inner impostor.
- Change your mindset to accept your shortcomings instead of seeking a perfect outcome with every project or goal.
- Embrace your imperfections and learn to accept yourself as you are. Remind yourself you truly did your best.
- Keep a list of realistic goals. If you have a list of goals already then look through them with honesty and kindness toward yourself.
- Believe the effort you’ve put forth regardless of the outcome. You may have worked hard towards a goal just to fall short of the desired outcome. This is an opportunity to accept the outcome and still be proud of the work you put into it. Remember, success isn’t luck!
- Create a focused goal instead of trying to divide your attention and energy between many unrelated topics. Be okay with having someone else work on a particular area of a task so you are free to focus on what you enjoy.
Impostor syndrome can cause the strongest and most successful individuals to feel they are not good enough. This syndrome can have a negative effect on all areas of your life. Take time to assess where you are and what you can do to move forward in your life.
If you’re new to the world of developing a more positive mindset for a healthier you, please check out https://EmbraceOptimism.com. There you will learn how to train yourself to improve your mindset and create a happier, more positive life for yourself and those around you. I really think you’ll enjoy the 30 images with positive quotes as much as I enjoyed creating them for you!
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Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you!
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