Tom Hanks has won two Oscars, four Golden Globes and seven Emmys. In an interview he shared that he experienced self doubt and he felt particularly connected to his character in his 2016 movie “A Hologram for the King”. He said “No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’ “
Former Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, explained that “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.”
Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook published a book called “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which helps women overcome fear of failure, among other things, she wrote, “And every time I didn’t embarrass myself—or even excelled—I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up.”
You heard many times that “even the most successful people have experienced at some point what is widely spread as Impostor Syndrome.” Did they, really? Or they just said that for PR purposes, to appear humble despite being so successful, the living legends of modern times?
It is good to know that this isn’t an actual illness with distinctive symptoms or signs. Not only does it not affect how well you function in your daily life, it also doesn’t have any specific symptoms or signs you can recognise when trying to self diagnose yourself.
Rich Woman Society
It is time to start telling women that they DON’T SUFFER with ‘Impostor Syndrome” as such ‘syndrome’ doesn’t really exist.
Research shows that 70% of people will experience this ‘ syndrome’ when they’re exposed to large amounts of responsibility. A staggering 78% of women who have been offered a promotion feel that they don’t deserve it. Our research shows that both men and women suffer with self doubt and that is the reason they self diagnose themselves, believing they suffer with what is commonly known as the ‘Impostor Syndrome’
In this article, we’ll explore the reality of “impostor syndrome” and how unhealthy such a made up ‘diagnosis’ could be to your performances in all aspects of your life.
Do you feel like a fraud about to be exposed at any moment?
Facts: there are no distinct symptoms for the “impostor syndrome” and does not appear to affect the daily life of those that have fallen for.
The “Impostor syndrome” was never mentioned in The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and while is not listed, it looks like a very real form of intellectual self doubt that generates anxiety and depression.
New research has suggested that while feeling like an impostor can be stressful or unpleasant, but it also carries benefits. Feeling that you are being underestimated could motivate you to succeed.
So what is really happening?
The inner narrative sounds like this:
“ Why do I feel like I am stuck in a rut?”
“ It might be because you’re an impostor. A lot of people suffer from Impostor Syndrome.”
The undeniable truth is the more you hear others talking about this “Syndrome”, the more you focus on, thinking that it is more common than you think, and that becomes a valid reason not to pursue your dreams. Or an excuse?
From a different perspective, an article in Health Harvard approached mental health and the placebo effect. Considering that “science has found that under the right circumstances, a placebo can be just as effective as traditional treatments” could it be possible that the widespread talk about the “impostor syndrome” could affect you in a negative way, as an upside down effect?
Harvard Business Review states: “Impostor syndrome,” or doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, is a diagnosis often given to women. But the fact that it’s considered a diagnosis at all is problematic. The concept, whose development in the ‘70s excluded the effects of systemic racism, classism, xenophobia, and other biases, took a fairly universal feeling of discomfort, second-guessing, and mild anxiety in the workplace and pathologised it, especially for women. The answer to overcoming impostor syndrome is not to fix individuals, but to create an environment that fosters a number of different leadership styles and where diversity of racial, ethnic, and gender identities is viewed as just as professional as the current model.”
We live in a world where self doubt is a powerful currency and while we are born compassionate, we are not born with self confidence, which really means that we are susceptible to self doubt. Without going too deep into who benefits from your self doubt, we invite you to look into what holds you back to course correct your destiny.
Destiny Course Correction
It’s easy to feel like we’re stuck in a rut when we’re going through tough times. It is even easier to start to believe that you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve better when you are obsessed with perfection, indulge yourself in self doubt and are terrified of failure. A lot of people think they struggle with the Impostor Syndrome, which actually doesn’t apply to them. Embracing your fears and eliminating self doubt is a healthier approach and is just a matter of destiny course correction.
If you’re feeling like an impostor, know that you’re not. Many successful and talented people have felt like impostors at some point in their lives. The important thing is to focus on who you are, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving to reach your goals.
Here are some tips for overcoming self doubt:
1. Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself permission to feel them.
2. Talk to someone who can understand and support you.
3. Write down your accomplishments and the things you’re proud of.
4. Focus on taking small steps forward instead of trying to achieve perfection overnight.
5. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that failure is a part of the learning process. After all, nobody was born with a manual that teaches‘how to live a happy life’.
If you’re struggling with fear of failure and self doubt, know that you can overcome it. Just take things one step at a time and be kind to yourself along the way. Be grateful for what you have accomplished already and to those who supported you. Life will only go as far as you allow your imagination to take you. Why not re-imagine your life on your own terms? This is what we call destiny self correction.
Is the Impostor Syndrome real or is it a fancy name for your Fear of Failure?
Some people facing responsibility feel challenged despite having accomplishments and crippled by fear. What if they will not rise to the task? What if they will fail to deliver a job, project or goal? The impostor syndrome is thought to be caused by a combination of perfectionism and self-doubt. People experiencing severe self doubt often feel like they are not good enough, no matter how much evidence they have to the contrary. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and a feeling of being trapped.
Do you feel like a fraud, like you’re not good enough or that you’re going to be exposed as an impostor?
We identify a few different types of behaviour as a result of feeding yourself with the fear of failure and self doubt. If you are a perfectionist, you feel that you can never do anything well enough. You are constantly striving for perfection and you are never satisfied with your accomplishments, regardless how big or small. Also, you tend to be very hard on yourself and have high standards for others.
The superstar is the opposite of being a perfectionist. You might feel like you’re always the best and that you can do no wrong. You’re usually overconfident and have a sense of entitlement. You also tend to be very competitive and put pressure on yourself to succeed.
The third type is chronic underachiever: you feel like you’re not good enough and that you’ll never amount to anything. You tend to procrastinate and avoid challenges. You also have low self-esteem and don’t believe in your abilities, skills or find it impossible to believe that you are born with a unique talent.
The causes of Self Doubt and Fear of Failure
We did not mention yet the social conditioning which is the most powerful engine for self doubt and fear of failure as this is a topic that is at the centre of my daily conversations with our team and our guest speakers. The reality is that too many people feel like they are not good enough or they do not belong. Lack of self-confidence or fear of failure have major, profound effects on people’s lives. It can cause them to feel trapped and unable to escape their current situation. If you’re feeling fearful for your future, if you doubt your ability to earn a living doing what you love,there are things you can do to overcome it.
Here are some tips for overcoming self doubt and fear of failure:
- Change your narrative. The most important story is not somebody else’s story. The most important story is the story you tell yourself about yourself when nobody is listening.
- Assess what makes you happy, what brings you joy. Give yourself a realistic assessment of your strengths, and if you need people to listen to your dreams, request a Brainstorming session with our team at Rich Woman Society.
- Be honest with yourself and others. Do you have a community or group that you can reach out for guidance? Connect with people who share the same interest for different topics of conversation, join a book club, go to events, online or offline, so you feel inspired instead of feeling alone in navigating through daily social conditioning traps.
- Celebrate with no reason. Don’t forget to take a good look at what you achieved today. Of course there are forgotten track records of your past achievements and even looking at old pictures you can see all the ways you’ve been successful in the past. Remember that feeling? Allow yourself to smile….Look in the mirror: you are as awesome as your ability to remember that you don’t need permission to be awesome! Celebrate yourself and others, as celebrations are the best way to purify your soul of self doubt and fear of success, which is your greatest fear.
As this is our favourite topic of conversation, we promise to come back with more in the upcoming book ‘Be You”, the first book of the Rich Inspiration Series, which is designed to inspire you to become a published author without writing a single word.
No one should feel like they are “stuck” in their life or their career. If you feel like you’re not reaching your full potential, it’s time to make a change. There is no shame in admitting that you need help or that you’re struggling. Accepting that you experience what is spreading as “ the impostor syndrome” , it means that you focus on feeling that way. Self inducing that feeling is the final step before giving up on your dreams. Talk to us, and get started on making tiny changes you need to reach your wildest dreams. Those little changes are the small hinges that swing the big doors in front of you: the doors to your own heart.