Imposter Syndrome, first identified by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite evidence of their competence, those experiencing this syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.
Imposter Syndrome can manifest in various ways, including perfectionism, overworking, undermining one’s achievements, fear of failure, and discounting praise. It can lead to stress, anxiety, low self-confidence, and even depression.
Recognizing Imposter Syndrome can be challenging as it often masks itself as humility or high standards. However, if you constantly feel like a fraud, struggle to accept praise, overwork to prevent people from discovering your ‘fraudulence’, or set excessively high and unattainable goals, you might be dealing with Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome manifests in various forms, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some common ones:
The Perfectionist Perfectionists set excessively high goals for themselves, and even if they meet 99% of their goals, they’re going to feel like failures. Any small mistake will make them question their own competence.
The Superwoman/man These individuals push themselves to work harder than those around them to prove that they’re not impostors. They feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life—at work, as parents, as partners—and may feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something.
The Natural Genius These individuals judge their competence based on ease and speed as opposed to their efforts. If they take a long time to master something, they feel shame.
The Soloist These individuals feel they must accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a fraud.
The Expert These individuals measure their competence based on “what” and “how much” they know or can do. They fear being exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable.
Impacts of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome can have far-reaching impacts on an individual’s life and career. It can lead to:
Decreased Self-Confidence: Constant self-doubt can erode self-confidence, making it difficult for individuals to take on new challenges or opportunities.
Increased Anxiety and Depression: The chronic worry of being “found out” can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Burnout: Individuals with Imposter Syndrome often overwork to compensate for their perceived inadequacies, leading to burnout.
Limited Career Growth: Imposter Syndrome can prevent individuals from seeking promotions or exploring new opportunities, limiting their career growth.
Impaired Work-Life Balance: The constant need to prove oneself can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance, affecting relationships and personal life.
Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome involves recognizing the problem, understanding its impacts, and taking steps to change the thought patterns and behaviors that fuel it. Here are some strategies that can help:
Acknowledge the Thoughts: Recognize and acknowledge imposter feelings when they emerge. Awareness is the first step to change.
Share Your Feelings: Talk about your feelings with trusted friends, mentors, or a therapist. You’ll likely find that others experience the same feelings.
Reframe Your Thoughts: Instead of letting your imposter thoughts control you, take control of them. Reframe them into more positive and realistic assessments of your skills and abilities.
Seek Support: Consider seeking professional help. Therapies like hypnosis and NLP can be incredibly beneficial in overcoming Imposter Syndrome.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) have proven to be effective methods in overcoming Imposter Syndrome.
Hypnosis is a therapeutic technique that creates a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility during which positive suggestions and guided imagery are used to help individuals deal with a variety of concerns and issues. It helps to alter our state of consciousness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind while simultaneously stimulating and focusing the subconscious part. This heightened state of awareness - reached using skilled relaxation techniques - allows the therapist to then make appropriate suggestions.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a psychological approach that involves analyzing strategies used by successful individuals and applying them to reach a personal goal. It relates thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior learned through experience to specific outcomes.
In the context of Imposter Syndrome, hypnosis can help to reframe the limiting self-beliefs that fuel the feelings of being an imposter. It can help replace the negative thought patterns with positive ones, thereby boosting self-confidence and self-esteem.
NLP techniques, on the other hand, can help individuals model the behaviors and thought patterns of those who are successful and confident in their abilities. This can help them to develop a more positive self-perception and overcome feelings of being an imposter.
Imposter Syndrome is a common phenomenon that can affect anyone, regardless of their achievements or status. However, with the right strategies and support, it is possible to overcome these feelings and embrace one’s accomplishments. Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) are powerful tools that can help individuals overcome Imposter Syndrome by reframing limiting beliefs and modeling successful behaviors. If you or someone you know is struggling with Imposter Syndrome get in touch today for a confidential chat to hear how I can help you overcome this problem.