How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome (So You Can Stop Feeling Like a Fraud)
Moving country throws me in the deep end. I'm forced to learn... and fast.
When I moved to Melbourne, I learnt that sitting around feeling hopeless wasn't going to help and it was guts and determination that was going to get me what I wanted. When I moved to NYC, I learnt how to love my own company, and I developed positive thoughts and healthy habits. In London; the importance of routine, persistence and continual learning.
In my first five months of living in Dubai, I've been faced with a new and surprising challenge to overcome: my self-confidence.
Photos by Nirmit Gire (@NirmitGire) in JLT, Dubai. Today I'm wearing an ASOS dress, Ted Baker bag, ALDO heels and vintage sunglasses (look linked below.)
Truthfully, in my former lives I would have given anything to be where I am now; a clear career path (recruitment for Marketing), a side hustle I'm passionate about (Business Blogging), studying for my Digital Marketing Diploma and an obsession with playing football. I'd always been content with my progression, yet understood my areas for improvement and acknowledged my hopes and aspirations.
I've never had any issues with my self-esteem before - I would happily deliver a speech as Head Girl at school prize giving, tap dance on stage or somewhat 'ace' a job interview.
Maybe this new move has potentially bought up years of self-confidence issues that were hidden. Or maybe, it's influenced by a new city where people view themselves in a golden haze and loudly preach their excellence.
Perhaps it's due to some further new found, foreign feelings of personal success when I study the growing google analytics of this blog.
Regardless, something has been off. Without the former comfort of old friends and colleagues, I've been feeling waves of anxiety from social interactions that typically would've never phased me. Without rhyme or reason, they have appeared in the form of one to one meetings, networking events, and presentations. I've been feeling frustrated at my lack of ability to be myself, and I've been disappointed.
One of the best things about being a business and career blogger is the incredible Instagram network I have joined; a community of career strategists, confidence coaches and entrepreneurs all promoting their knowledge and services through the power of personal branding.
'The Imposters Phenomenon' has appeared a few times on my feed - the fear of being exposed, that you don’t deserve your success, aren’t as good as others, and could be “found out” at any moment. You suddenly feel nervous, anxious, your voice quivers and palms get sweaty. It's likely to occur at certain transition points in your life - when you graduate, start a new job, or when you're looked up to as an expert in your field.
Surprisingly, it affects some of the world’s most celebrated people. Sheryl Sandberg has said: ‘‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’’ Emma Watson has repeatedly admitted she feels like an imposter, as have Kate Winslet and author Neil Gaiman.
After an Imposter Syndrome self-diagnosis, I knew it was time to let it go. I knew an old-lady Briar would look back apalled and say ' Who REALLY CARES?! Just live your life!" But is it that easy?
Funnily enough, even just reading up on this damn thing has helped - it's like acknowledging the elephant in the room. Surprisingly, I'm not alone! Studies estimate that 70% of people have these feelings.
Come off it.
Usually, I feel like a fraud when I think I’m more important than I really am; over analysing myself and thinking about how others perceive me- WHO CARES. Letting go of some of your excess self-importance will go a long way in helping you feel less like a fake.
Begin with the end in mind
If something makes you anxious, visualise yourself achieving your goal. Create a detailed mental image of the desired outcome using all of your senses. For instance, when doing a presentation to a large audience, picture yourself walking on the stage, your heart racing with excitement and the bright lights glaring down. The audience listens and laughs throughout your performance. You deliver the last line, smile as they clap, and walk off the stage feeling great.
do what you love
We put pressure on ourselves in reaching our 'final destination' and in doing so, forget to have fun on the journey. Half the fun of working hard for a goal is the race there and what you learn on the way! Too often, I forget I love recruiting for marketing and forget I love this blog due to the unnecessary stress I carry from self-imposed deadlines.
There is no such thing as perfect
It’s was found that Imposters Syndrome is associated with a perfectionist self-presentation, a concern for making mistakes, and a need for approval - so ease your unrealistic standards! In this day and age where everyone has a 'voice' and online presence, it can be easy to look at their photos and think they are crushing it at life. Realistically, I look nothing like my pictures right now - it's perhaps surprising I even showered.
Focus on providing value
The fastest way to get over feeling like a fraud is to genuinely try to help someone else. It always feels a tad bit personal when I write blog posts but knowing I may help someone else keeps me going. Keep a list of all the good things people say about you and your work, so when you are feeling self-doubt you can refer back to it.
There is no point holding back or wanting/ pretending to be someone that you are not - you will only rob yourself and people will think you are weird for your stunted expression.
No-one knows what they are doing
There seems to be a common misconception that in order to succeed, everything needs to be perfectly set up... not true. I've shared before that when I started my blog, despite doing plenty of research, a lot of learning came on the job through trial and error. When I started recruitment, I was terrible at cold calling which is a fundamental aspect of business development. Entrepreneurs and startups are never perfect either (in fact, a lot even fail!), they are just brave individuals who really believed in something and gave it a shot.
Of course you should seek help if feelings of fraudulence are interfering with your life, or if you have symptoms of depression or anxiety, but moderate 'Imposter Experiences' are just a sign that you’re a normal, yet mildly insecure and conscientious person. Humility is appealing! Isn't it better to underestimate your abilities rather than be unable to recognize your own ignorance?
Hope you liked this post guys! Who else is feeling or has felt Imposter Syndrome? Please message me on Instagram (@deals_in_high_heels) or Facebook (Deals In High Heels) - I love to hear from you.
You may also like my post about maintaining your health and sanity while hustling or how to improve your Emotional Intelligence in the workplace.
Until next time,
Briar Prestidge xx
*This post contains affiliate links which mean I may receive a commission if you choose to buy something. As usual, I only post things I love.
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Images sourced from Pinterest.