Yesterday, in a meeting, the sales coordinator for our Guyanese Distributor praised me, telling my General Manager that I was very keen, hard working and “on the ball” and he advocated that I be rewarded with an upgraded blackberry or a tablet for my efforts (tablet coming soon!!!!!). My General Manager agreed that I was indeed a very enthusiastic, hard worker. And for the very first time, I didn’t feel like a fraud. Why? Well, praising myself has never been my strong point, my friends and family will tell you that I hold myself to quite high standards and never feel like I meet them so it’s hard for me to accept praise. Apparently, this behaviour is so common, they named a syndrome after it – Impostor Syndrome.
“The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome)
I’m not sure how I ended up with it (most likely has something to do with constant comparison to others) however, I can tell you how I got better.
- Hard Work – I pushed myself harder to get closer to my ideal working self so now that I feel I’m closer to something worthy of praise, it’s easier to accept it.
- Family/Friends – I’ve got good people in my corner who often point out the good things to me, I’ve also got younger cousins who look up to me. Originally this was part of the problem, i wanted to be someone truly worthy of their adoration, but I realise I already am.
- Living in the Now – I came to realise the truth in all those sayings about how it’s about the journey and not the destination. It’s ok to celebrate small victories, you may not have achieved the ultimate goal but something as simple as getting every on your to-do list done deserves a little pat on the back.
- Stop Comparing – One of the main reasons I feel like an impostor is because of the constant comparison to others who i believe have done better. Listen, everyone’s journey is different and as long as you are giving it your absolute, unadulterated best, you are doing fine!
- Good is still good – When I finish a task I often think, I could have done that better and I beat myself up for the undone/unsaid things, even though the job came off well. I’m not asking you to settle but I’m asking you to realise that a “good job” is still good! You can’t go back and change it, so be happy with “good” for now and on the next job, use what you’ve learnt to get to “best”.
Are you suffering from Impostor Syndrome? Take a second to recognise all you’ve accomplished, you may not be the youngest manager or the break-out entrepreneur/best seller of the year but you have done a lot to be proud of. If you can’t see those things, surround yourself with people who do.
Have a productive Friday and great weekend! Also, welcome to the new follows, glad to have you around!