Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome (or IS)?
Those who suffer Impostor Syndrome are convinced that friends or colleagues grossly overestimate their abilities. The ‘impostor’ feels they don’t deserve the accomplishments they have achieved, and fear that eventually they will be unmasked as a fraud.
Age is not a factor, but Joseph Ferrari, a psychologist at DePaul University, reports that most ‘impostors’ are women. According to Young, women internalize negative feedback much more readily than men.
So how does that effect you? Well, there are many good and even great writers blogging. But, blogging is not just about being able to craft a well structured sentence. It is also about building a community, providing value for readers, and humanistic things like communication. So, even if you are the kind of person that doesn’t suffer from Impostor Syndrome it is useful to know that there are people out there that do.
For those who do, it is equally reassuring to know that others experience the same fear as you. But how do those that experience IS overcome it? Below is it list that you can check to see if you suffer from IS, with another list below that on methods to overcome Impostor Syndrome
Taking the Impostor Syndrome Test
Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
- Do you worry about other bloggers finding out that you are not as smart as they seem to think you are?
- Does self-doubt stop you from challenges, writing longer posts or using social media like Tweeter?
- Are your accomplishments written off as a fluke, sheer luck, or that people just like you?
- Are you obsessive about doing things absolutely perfectly, so much so a normal post can take days to finish?
- Do you feel it was your lack of ability to do something right the first time round?
- Even your achievements are meant with the feeling that you may not be so lucky next time.
- Do you feel less capable than other bloggers?
- Does the fear of bad comments stop you from blogging?
- Do you ever think. I would love to be a blogger but, who would want to listen to me?
- Do you ever think. Maybe when I have something to say, then I will start that blog!
If you answered Yes to any of these questions than you probably suffer from IS.
Methods for overcoming Impostor Syndrome
- Stop living in denial. Acknowledgment will go along way to fixing the underlining issues, therefore if you suffer from IS tell yourself, that it is IS and not reality.
- Next time you feel IS kicking in stop and assess the situation. Try and separate overly critical thoughts and feelings from factual ones. This step is critical because you want to make sure that you can evaluate your performance without bias. Simply changing your habits to the other extreme, that is, thinking that you are the best at everything you do is simply the flip side of the same egocentric coin.
- At the beginning, place more emphasis on overcoming the tendency to be overly critical by assuming that you are being overly critical. By assuming that this will far more likely to investigate what is going on under the covers.
- Be sure to point out the times that you achieve something worthwhile. Learn to hear positive feedback. When you achieve something, perhaps a goal you’d previously set for yourself. Pat yourself on the back.
- Allow yourself to hear praise from others without letting ego takeover. Something IS suffers can completely disregard positive feedback. But know that this self-deprecating attitude can actually be pride, albeit a reverse pride. Nonetheless it is ego getting in the way. Truly humble people can hear positive feedback without ego taking over.
- Setup rules for how you will engage that inner voice when IS becomes manifest. You are trying to break old habits. Habits can sometimes be difficult to change, so rules on how you react when an IS problem occurs can be very useful.
- As part of the rules you follow, and by way of helping yourself break habitual tendencies, build standard phrases or affirmations that help implement these changes. For example, when an IS thought or feeling arises tell yourself it is just SI. That these feelings and thoughts are not inherently real, and that you have the capacity of change. Moreover, you WILL change!
- Imagine yourself overcoming IS. Feel that you have already over IS. Once you can do this with success, you have probably overcome IS.
- Given yourself a reward when you succeed in changing habits. Shout yourself a latte.
- Fake it till you make it: An old cliche but it is worth repeating. The process of overcoming any personal problems is about training yourself to react in an entirely different way. It is therefore a process, and the better you can fake it, the more quickly it will become part of who you are i.e. Not faking it. Try not to let IS overwhelm you by telling yourself you can do these challenging things, even if at first you don’t really believe it.
To sum up then, Impostor Syndrome is the habitual tendency to underestimate yourself. To believe that even the success you have you did not deserve. It can be generated from low self-esteem or other related issues. It can stop bloggers from finding their ‘voice’. It can stop you from becoming the blogger you want to become and therefore it is worth some investigation.