Have you ever felt as if your accomplishments are nothing to be proud of? Or that you haven’t achieved anything in life? The imposter syndrome robs a person of the ability to internalise their achievements. It makes them feel as if they didn’t contribute to the success of a project, or that they would eventually be discovered as “frauds”.
It’s not a fun internal battle, but here are a few ways to win it.
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1. Keep a list of your achievements
Every time someone emails you to congratulate you on a successful project or thank you for your contribution, file it. When you feel down in the dumps, take the list out and tell yourself that you’re not nothing.
2. Embrace the fact that you have accomplished something
Accept all praises objectively, and don’t think that everything you’ve achieved is based on pure luck. If you find yourself questioning your abilities, tell yourself, “That’s the imposter syndrome talking.”
3. Seek out support
You don’t have to go through this alone. Know that you can ask for help and speak to a trusted friend or mentor about what you are experiencing. By opening up to others, you will be able to talk things through and receive validating feedback from others that accurately reflects your true capabilities.
4. If you fail, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure
You might think that failing at something means that you are not good enough, but you need to learn that failure is a completely normal part of life. When you fail, you get to gain invaluable wisdom and knowledge that will help you make better decisions and choices the next time. Sometimes, failing can also open up new opportunities and lead you to consider alternatives that may end up being the right path for you.
5. Understand that everyone is different
Stop comparing yourself to others. You probably have experienced that dreary feeling when your parents compliment other kids, so why subject yourself to the same treatment? Don’t create false expectations of yourself; know your limits and abilities and recognise that while you might not have achieved what your colleague did, your personal accomplishments shouldn’t be overlooked.
6. Don’t take things seriously
Having a sense of humour and treating everything as an experiment or a game can work in your favour, as it lightens the pressure of wanting to excel. This will make you acknowledge the little achievements instead of just looking at the end result.
7. Live your life
This might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s actually possible. Some people don’t see their success as an accomplishment because they’re not happy with their lives. Ask yourself: Are you enjoying what you’re doing? If your answer is yes, that’s an accomplishment in itself because not everyone has the luxury of doing something they enjoy. If not, consider making a switch in pursuit of happiness. If that’s not an option, go through steps 1 to 6 to help you get out of the rut.
Images: TPG/Click Photos, Unsplash
Additional Reporting: Valerie Toh