Imposter Syndrome: Why We Get It & How To Deal With It

Those moments when you feel you don't deserve success.

30/09/2016 8:11 AM AEST | Updated 02/10/2016 11:14 AM AEDT
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We wouldn't be human if we didn't suffer from self-doubt at least once in our lifetime. That sinking feeling that we don't deserve success or that we are no good at what we do can lead to what's known as Imposter Syndrome.

It's also known as Fraud Syndrome and it's a deep fear that you are a fraud, or that you are going to be 'found out' . The term was coined in the late 1970s and researchers believe at least 70 per cent of us have fallen victim to it.

Relationship expert and author Marina Jacoby-Leonard told The Huffington Post Australia some people try to talk themselves out of imposter syndrome by talking to themselves in a positive way.

"Positive talk only lasts as long as the time it takes to say it to yourself. I think it's a good idea to give your imposter a voice and write down all your fears on paper. Write down everything that's worrying you about yourself and then, write beside each thing: fact or fiction," Jacoby-Leonard said.

"For everything that was fact, get some help for it. But for everything that is fiction, you can cross out. When you write down the reasons why you think you are an imposter, you'll see most are flimsy beliefs that have no bearing whatsoever."

It helps to give your imposter a voice and write down all the reasons why you think you are a fraud. In most cases, you will realise it's all fiction.

"I believe it helps to remind yourself that you weren't made 'wrong' you were made perfectly imperfect. The right people will find themselves in front of you and the right things will unfold for you."

Collective Hub CEO Lisa Messenger told HuffPost Australia when she had a vision of creating a new print magazine, she had no idea how to make it happen.

"It was only a vision, or a dream. I didn't have a clue how I was going to do it. Then, even when the Collective was a success, I was very open telling people that I still didn't have a clue how I was doing anything. I was making it up as I went along! I'm always very open telling people that I launched a magazine not having a clue what I was doing – that was Imposter Syndrome," Messenger said.

"But now it's a success, it's living proof that we all just make it up as we go along. That's true for every industry. I guess what helped me overcome Imposter Syndrome is that I've cultivated a mindset that anything is possible. I consciously removed anything that could act as a self sabotage. My experience is unique to me but the same lessons apply: you need to be courageous and ask yourself why you don't feel you deserve success."

Collective Hub
Lisa Messenger believes most of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome as some stage of our life but it's important to recognise that everybody else does too!

Messenger believes forcing yourself to feel a little more uncomfortable is a good thing.

"You need to be comfortable about being uncomfortable. It really helps to strip it all back, don't take yourself too seriously and realise that nobody really knows everything - we're all in this game called life," Messenger said.

"When people tell me I'm a success and ask me how I 'did it' I tell them I'm just making it up every single day, and so can you! Equip yourself with the right tools, surround yourself with like-minded people and consciously remove anything that can act as a self-sabotage. Keep reminding yourself that if you have a vision, you can make it happen and nothing is out of your reach."

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