A few days ago, I got an email that I had been expecting for weeks. I had written multiple essays, gone through a series of interviews, and taken some aptitude and personality tests for this opportunity. I finally got confirmation in this email that I had been selected. My elation was palpable, my excitement was visible, but it didn’t last 5 minutes. I started to panic, feel nervous and legit began to feel a sweat break out on my forehead and under my armpits. My thoughts had quickly switched from euphoria to dread in a matter of seconds. I began to feel like I was not deserving of this opportunity. And even worse, like I would not meet up to their expectations.
See, I haven’t always had imposter syndrome. When I was little, I used to be confident that everything I got and achieved, no matter how small, was because of my own personal hard work, faith and determination. My recitals, first positions in school and a good number of A’s were because I practiced hard, studied hard and exercised discipline. As I grew older and life threw a couple of hard rocks at me, I will be the first to admit that that confidence started to waive a little bit.
It so happened that after trying for something for so long and hoping for a break that will bring clarity to my journey as an adult, I got what I wanted. But almost immediately after, I felt like I didn’t deserve it. If you have never dealt with imposter syndrome, then you are part of less than 30% of people who may never feel it in their lifetimes. But for most of us that have or will in the future, I am here to tell you that it is conquerable.
You first must acknowledge when you have these feelings. Knowing that you feel this way is the first step to getting rid of impostor syndrome. Then when you “feel” like a fraud or undeserving, try to realise that because other people don’t feel this way doesn’t mean that they are better or smarter than you. The difference between you and them is their thoughts.
And so, you need to restructure and reframe your thoughts to think like a non-impostor. It is completely normal to have moments and feelings of doubt, but it is the way your thoughts spin those feelings that determine your course of action.
Turning those thoughts from negative to positive is a psychological concept called REBT and you can apply that to yourself too.
Speak to people. Share your thoughts. It is easier to work through impostor syndrome when you speak to people that belong to your support system. Talking to the people that will always remind you about your potential is always a good idea to get you out of the funk.
Visualize your success and Reward yourself. Imagine yourself in that position and situation and imagine yourself succeeding at that task. Believe that you have the ability and creativity to thrive in that environment. You were given that opportunity for a reason and you can be the best there is.
Also, rewarding yourself helps you to understand that you are indeed deserving and worthy. Give yourself a pat on the back.
You can just “fake it till you make it’. This means showing up as the confident and assured person that you want to be. Don’t wait to “be 100% confident” before you take risks and put yourself out there. Showing up as the best version of yourself counts as practice for helping you to be brave and bold
I have been in the impostor syndrome rut more than a few times and so I know first-hand that these tips are useful. So, after I had the feeling of dread and thinking I was not good enough, I had to mentally call myself back and remind myself how much I worked and prayed for the opportunity. I also reminded myself how resilient I can be and how much I can learn and perform excellently in any situation. I spoke to people I consider mentors and they reminded me of what I was already coming to realize, that I had worked for it, and I deserve it.
I went ahead to reply to the email as well as treat myself to some much-needed celebration chocolates. (Calories don’t count when you are celebrating.)
And finally, I reminded myself of what every person that suffers from this syndrome should know. You are worthy and you are deserving. Having a moment of doubt or an “imposter moment” does not mean having an imposter life.