7 Ways to Challenge Feeling Like an Impostor.

For a long time I was unaware of a way to fully describe how I’ve felt for a large portion of my adult life. But the one term that kept popping up was “Impostor Syndrome”.

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For a long time, I was unaware of a way to fully describe how I’ve felt for a large portion of my adult life. But the one term that kept popping up was “Impostor Syndrome”. I first heard of this phrase a number of years ago during a conversation with a close friend. He was lost at the time and going through what we could consider an existential crisis. I remember he told me that he felt like an impostor in his own life and that the term ‘Impostor Syndrome‘ best suited him. Being the naturally curious person that I am, I looked this up and found that I too checked a majority of the boxes.

For years I’ve often felt like I’m watching my life and achievements from behind a glass wall. Although I did reasonably well in school, and in my life in general, I still don’t feel like I’ve really done much of anything. Everyone else seems to be doing just as well, and often better, than I am. To put all that I am feeling under a big umbrella; I don’t feel like I belong here. I feel like I am an alien who has come to earth and is walking through life zipped into someone else’s body.

Image by Rafael Barros

“Impostor syndrome causes people to doubt their achievements and fear that others will expose them as fraudulent.”

Those with impostor syndrome may experience the following feelings or thoughts.

  • Worry that they will not live up to expectations.
  • Avoid extra responsibilities. Instead, they might bury themselves in their work rather than taking on additional responsibility that may highlight their abilities better.
  • Get stuck in an ‘impostor’ cycle wherein any success creates this tornado of self-doubt.
  • Attribute any of their success to outside factors. They might feel that they need to work harder than most to achieve anything and that ‘luck’ has a big part to play.
  • Self Sabotage. They may have low self-confidence and a fear of failure. With this comes a constant internal struggle of achieving success and being afraid that they may be found out. It often prevents them from reaching their true potential.
  • Experience job dissatisfaction. They tend to feel unhappy in their jobs.
  • Avoid asking for a raise. They deny their worth and don’t feel they deserve it.
  • Go overboard on tasks and goal setting. They tend to try to complicate and overachieve on certain tasks due to a fear of failure, and a need to prove themselves.

The Smart Girls Handbook & how it can help you overcome self-doubt.

On March 8th (International Women’s Day) Scarlett Clark released The Smart Girls Handbook: How to Silence Self-Doubt, Find your Purpose and Redefine the Impossible. I received a copy to review earlier in the year and found it to be not only a very insightful read but also inspirational to my own journey.

Scarlett Clark is the creator of The Smart Girl Tribe, an online resource for women all over the world. Through this global hub, women are free to discuss issues that truly matter to them. There is also a podcast which I’ve personally enjoyed on many road trips back home. The content shared not only focuses on inspiration and growth, it also delves into some deeper issues such as anxiety, relationships and family troubles. The Smart Girl Tribe is certainly a site you should check out if you’re in the blogging world, or simply need some motivation in your daily life.

Each chapter of the book is named after one of the Smart Girl Tribe’s promises and contains various exercises to encourage you. These promises include such things as the following.

1) I promise to discover my talent and find my passion.
2) I promise to learn how to deal with the fear of failure.
3) I promise to learn to cope with anxiety and start speaking my truth.
4) I promise to slay the mean girls and build a strong tribe of true friends.
5) I promise to be confident and love myself unconditionally.
6) I promise to be a total #boss.
7) I promise to embrace self-care and take a well-needed pause.
8) I promise to stand up and help change the world
.

I’ve lived in a perpetual state of anxiety and feeling like a fraud for a long time. But while reading this book I honestly felt like someone else ‘got me.’ Throughout I found myself ticking many of the similar boxes as Scarlett, reminding me that this wasn’t a journey exclusive to me. There’s something comforting in realising that someone else has felt exactly how you’ve been feeling.


7 Ways to Challenge Impostor Syndrome.

Speak up!

Don’t be ashamed to talk about your feelings of being a fraud. Talking about it can be liberating and can make us feel better in the long run.

Step back and separate what you’re feeling from the facts!

Just because you feel like a fraud, or stupid, or unworthy doesn’t mean it’s the truth. It happens us all from time to time, some more than others, but we need to learn to step back from the situation and accept that we feel this way BUT that doesn’t mean we are those things.

Forget perfect!

Perfectionism can often be damaging in that it drives us to the extreme. Being a perfectionist is thought to be a key trait in the development of anorexia after all, and look where that got me!

The key is to try not to obsess and just allow things to be as they are. It’s so damn hard, especially when it comes to work or school, but obsessing only drives us to the brink of insanity, and into the feelings of ‘I’m not good enough, I’m a fake.’

Making mistakes is okay!

Everyone makes mistakes. The creation of wasps was a mistake in my eyes and who made them? Well, we’ll not get into that. We can make mistakes too and that’s completely okay.

We need to stop beating ourselves up for, yet again, not being perfect and realise that we’re all humans. The main thing is that we take it on the chin and learn from them.

F**k the rules!

Excuse the language but fuck whoever first said ‘you should know all this by now’ or ‘you shouldn’t ask for help if you’re stuck’. Assert yourself! Ask for help! If you don’t know the answer or you unsure, then ask! You deserve guidance on that project you’re stuck on, you’re allowed to have a bad day and, above all else, you’re entitled to help just like everyone else in the world!

Rewrite the unspoken rules of ‘I can’t ask for this‘…‘I need to be on my game 24-7‘. Who even made them up in the first place!?

Rewire negative self-talk!

We hear it all the time in self-help and therapy; Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s easier said than done.

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That being said a wise woman once said that you should speak to yourself as if you are speaking to your best friend. Would you tell your best friend that they weren’t good enough? That they were a fraud and wait until everyone finds out? No. So why do it to yourself?

We need to rewire our brains to accept ourselves and love ourselves more.

I’ve very little advice about this because I’m my own judge, jury, and executioner on most days. I beat myself to a pulp from morning to night about the stupidest things. I talk about all this self-love and recovery on my blog every day and you can bet that I feel like the biggest fake in the world sometimes. But I shouldn’t because I’m writing this as a way of processing through things and a way of helping others. I am doing something I feel so proud and happy for doing, and just because I’m struggling with the concept of recovery doesn’t make me a fraud for encouraging it.

Treat Yo Self!

You deserve nice things just because it’s a Tuesday! In fact, you deserve that nice scented candle that you want for no other reason than it smells like cookies! Want a new book? Buy a new book! Do you feel like a new haircut or a spa day? Get it.

Treat yourself as if you’re buying gifts for someone you love because you know it will make them feel happy and appreciated.


Have you experienced impostor syndrome? How do you cope with it?

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95 comments

  1. Oh man, I get this hardcore sometimes. Right now I just feel like a loser because my insomnia is making it so I can’t do ANYTHING. It’s the worst.

  2. This is a fab post and fab review. Imposter syndrome is sooo common – mostly among women. I did a bit of research into it a while ago actually and it’s painfully common among women. I’ve felt it. Not so much anymore but there have been moments throughout my career where I’ve been like “why in the world am I doing” haha! x

  3. Great list! I struggle with imposter syndrome, which often leads me to quitting just as I start to see success in anything. I appreciate the strategies you’ve offered, they are definitely good ones!

  4. this is hekpful i have learnt alot my head is filled with ideas right now thanks alot

  5. I didn’t know that people face with such issues as well. In situations like these one should avoid doubting self-worth and feel proud of themselves even for smaller achievements.
    Great read!

  6. I like forget perfect and the mistakes bit! Great post Nyxie (as always!)

  7. Very interesting! I think I have had a problem with this in the past, although I still struggle sometimes. When I first started training to be veterinary nurse I was convinced I shouldn’t have got the job and everyone else was better than me. I’ve since moved on from that and love my job and am good at it. But it’s hard! Great post ❤️

  8. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” is always one that has stuck with me 🙂
    Thank you for stopping by and I am so happy that this post resonated with you on a personal level.
    Love, Nyxie

  9. I’m not super positive, I’m more realistic without allowing myself to be morbid about it, you know? That being said I put myself out there more and challenge the voice within me to stop holding me back!

  10. while reading your advice it reminded me when i learned about cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT. the focus of the exercises is to become more aware with the facts rather than with the ideas attached with emotions. the goal is not necessarily to be super positive, but rather realistic i guess.

  11. This resonates so much with me, never knew there was an actual name for it. It’s good to know these things – makes me feel a little more ‘normal’ in a way ha ha. Thanks for sharing, once again, a very well written and informative post.

    Davis |

  12. This post resonates with me on so many levels!
    I think the one thing that I’ve had to really work on was perfectionism. For a long time I never started anything because the idea or plan wasn’t perfect.
    What worked for me personally was starting to take just a small step. Once I take a step it’s easy to stick to something.
    Another thing that worked for me was reminding myself, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no”. This has worked wonders on my self confidence.
    Very touching post, Nyxie!
    Love,
    Shalvika

  13. That was a very interesting and descriptive post – I enjoyed reading it … I’m leaving my info on your Twitter post and I would appreciate the return favor of following, RTs, commenting! Thank you and I look forward to your next post ????????

  14. The impostor syndrome can really consume people. The effects of it can make people act outside of their normal behavior. It is good to be a perfectionist, at the same time, we need to recognize when something is in its best condition. I agree with these thoughts! It is definitely ok to make mistakes. Failure makes us stronger than not trying at all.

  15. I struggled with being more positive with myself for a long time. After developing a list of positive things to think about myself and others to read every morning, I am much happier!

  16. Thank you for stopping by and reading! I only heard of this briefly a few years ago, but now I am convinced that I have it!

  17. Omg I’ve never heard of this but I think I also have some form of imposter syndrome. I really like your methods of combating these thoughts as it can be difficult to identify why you’re feeling this way and even more difficult to do something about it. Really great tips here!

  18. I love this post! It’s so real and so relatable on many levels. I like the idea about letting go of perfectionism the most. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. Thank you for sharing this article, Nyxie. I’m a hardcore perfectionist and I deal with OCD, so I can relate to some of these things. It’s good to be reminded of the things that can help me feel more balanced. ????❤️

  20. Imposter syndrome is so insidious, and it can be really destructive. Thank you for putting together such a comprehensive list of both symptoms and advice!

  21. I’ve never read a post like this before so this was really interesting to learn about.

    Remembering that no one is perfect is a massive thing that I think we all need to remember! Also accepting that we make mistakes and learn from them and move on.

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s really eye opening ????

    Love Lozza xo
    http://girlygabble.com

  22. I have never heard of Imposter’s Syndrome until I came across your post and I think it was really informative and important. I’m glad I now know what it is, as it gave me greater awareness that such a syndrome exists and will look out for people close to me if I see these symptoms. Thanks for your tips and thank you so much for sharing!

  23. My fav advice from a mentor was “good is good enough” I found it so freeing.

  24. This hits home. I always feel like I’m having to pretend to be someone I am not when I am out around people. I have always struggled with feeling like I should be doing more, Feeling like I’m not doing good enough. Thank you for this very thought provoking write up. 🙂

  25. I’ve actually been having a bit of an existential crisis regarding this since getting back from travelling recently. This was super helpful! Thank you so much for sharing ❤️

  26. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! After everything that has happened the last few days I am more determined than ever to treat my blog like a work; That means faking it til I make it! Although my inner critic and negative self is telling me I’m not worthy and will never make it, I’m going to show it who is boss!

    – Nyxie

  27. I love the honest you always insert into your post. The one that really spoke to me is the negative self-talk. This is for so many of us the hard part. When I was in high school a LONG LONG time ago. my headmaster who was a brilliant man said something that really stuck with me all these years. It’s essentially the “fake it till you make it” approach, but what he said was – when we want to change something within ourselves, we should do things, act, and practice external things – as is this is how we truly feel inside because sometimes change start from the outside in. this is why language and how we speak about ourselves is so important. Thank you for sharing this meaningful post.

  28. I need to really tune into the letting go part of myself. I need to stop being perfect and stop trying to control everything! But it’s so difficult!

  29. I need to begin telling myself that I’m winning and actually believing it!
    Thank you for stopping by and commented 🙂

    – Nyxie

  30. This is a really great article. I especially like what you wrote about it’s okay to make mistakes, and to rewire negative self-talk. Those are two really powerful actions that can make a big difference.

  31. I am exactly the same Jenny. I’ve never had confidence and I feel like, because I’ve been really inactive over the last few days, my blog is suffering because I didn’t try hard enough. It’s so silly because obviously I can’t be there for my family and ‘working’ at the same time.

    Anytime I get paid for a post or article, or even on my Ko-Fi I feel like ‘OMG what do I do? How can I repay them?’ you know?

    Thank you for stopping by 😀

    xx

  32. I haven’t been very good at it lately, but usually I try and stop a bad through in it’s tracks, telling myself ‘You don’t have time to get into a rut, girl!’. It was working for a while before I went on vacation in March and then, as you know, my life has just went to s**t so to speak!

    I am so glad you are learning to train your brain not to react negatively!

    Thank you, as always, for popping by. It means so much!

  33. Great piece of advice really. I believe many of us feels like imposter most of the time. I often feel like I am not good at my work or parenting abd just winging it. But then I am like nah, I am winning it! ????

  34. Oh my gosh! You’re speaking to me concerning perfectionism. It makes life so hard to try and be perfect every minute of every day. Time to let go.

  35. Some of this really resonates & now I must go ponder over a cuppa. Thx for the new perspective.

  36. wow, this is exactly me – it’s as if I wrote this. This is how I’ve been my whole life, and slowly I’ve been trying to train myself to not fear being judged by others.

  37. Wow! I wrote an article on this same topic a few weeks ago. I can totally relate to these feelings as well. I’ve had my struggles with not feeling good enough or undeserving of certain things at some points in my life.

  38. Awesome post ???? Very descriptive and interesting post!!!
    I’m following you please follow me and comment and RT???? I’m leaving my info on your Twitter
    post for return favor.

    Great writing!!

  39. I feel like that lately with my blog. Having taken a few days to be with my family and cope with the loss of my grandfather, my audience engagement has dropped significantly and I am left feeling horrible. But I know that is just the perfectionist in me screaming.

  40. Thank you so much for reading! I didn’t think it was me either but as I read more into it I realised – YUP – that’s me to a tee!

  41. Thank you for sharing this! I did not think I suffered from it but after reading I know I have it. Now I know that I have to assert myself and ask for help.

  42. I can certainly relate to this post. I often feel like an imposter and struggle with perfectionism. Great advice here.

  43. Motivational!

    Thank you for sharing this important information regarding imposter syndrome.

  44. I didn’t feel like Imposter Syndrome applied to me, but after reading your list of what it’s about, I realise this is 100% me. I’m finding it impossible to find a new job because I don’t feel capable or worthy and that I would be laughed out the door. I feel better for reading this and I’ve booked marked it for a point of reference, so thank you so much for this!

  45. I’ve heard of imposter syndrome but never really knew what it was and now I do, so thankyou for the insight. Thankyou for writing this post ????

  46. I can totally relate to this, my perfectionism can be a real issue sometimes! I’m especially good at going overboard with goals and if I have a weekend where I haven’t ticked goals off a lsit then it feels so wasted to me. I’m getting better at it, but I feel constantly like I need to prove myself to others when in reality I’m doing alright.

  47. Wow this is very relatable! You info is so great I think I suffer from this a lot of the time xx

  48. Oh I can definitely relate to imposter syndrome. I was offered an amazing blog opportunity the other day and the firs thing I said to my boyfriend was I wonder if they sent that email to the wrong person.

    I’ve got so little self confidence as it is, I just can imagine myself doing anything good?

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

  49. Oh I so hear you about feeling fake about what you say (I wrote a similar thing on my blog earlier in the week too) but to quote the Wayward Sisters podcast – it’s about taking the journey together rather than one person having all the answers and preaching them to their audience.

    I am so blessed that you are taking us on this journey with you, and the more you preach (is that the wrong word? cuz you’re not preachy in the bad sense, but you get me?) the positive mindset the more it bleeds into your own mindset.

    I have a new thing that I do where I acknowledge a negative thought but then try and flip the script to find the positive – so last night my parents didn’t go out as planned so I didn’t get to have my regularly scheduled bath which I had been looking forward to and I was pissed and I text a friend moaning. Then about five minutes later (after trying really hard) I managed to flip it to “well at least it frees up my entire evening to work on my blog”.

  50. I love the idea of speaking to yourself as if you’re speaking to your best friend.
    Great advice!
    Thanks for sharing.

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