Imposter Syndrome: the self-doubt that (often) comes with success

What do these four celebrities have in common (apart from fame)? And do you know who the guy in the bottom right is?! It might surprise you that these incredibly successful people have all spoken about dealing with Imposter Syndrome.

It seems bizarre that after striving for what you want in your career, putting in more hard yards than you can count, you might come out the other side feeling undeserving of your success.

But that’s how it is for people who suffer from Imposter Syndrome, a feeling of inadequacy and a baseless fear that you’ve faked your way to success. Rather than feeling triumph in reaching their goals, these people feel like they are never good enough.

The effect can be detrimental both professionally and personally and, to at least some degree, most of us can relate to it.

I got to thinking about Imposter Syndrome after reading that many extremely successful people have struggled with it, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author Neil Gaiman and even Neil Armstrong (above, bottom right), the first man to walk on the moon!

Photo of Emma Watson
Emma Watson says her self-doubt has increased alongside her success.

Actress Emma Watson says the feeling increased as she became more successful: “I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved’.”

Are we all Imposter Syndrome sufferers?

I think this imposter feeling is something most people who have experienced some level of career or business success can identify with – that nagging question in the back of your mind: am I good enough?

And, in fact, American educational psychology researcher Dr Kevin Cokely has conducted several studies into Imposter Syndrome and says 70 percent of the population reportedly feel like an imposter.

Chris Martin on stage
Coldplay’s Chris Martin embraces the dose of “paranoia” that has come with his stardom.

A little bit of doubt can be a good thing if it spurs you on to work harder and go that little bit further. I like Chris Martin’s comment on this: “It’s helpful to have some arrogance with paranoia. If we were all paranoia, we’d never leave the house. If we were all arrogance, no one would want us to leave the house.”

But doubt becomes detrimental if it starts eating away at your confidence and affecting your performance.

I’m not an expert like Dr Cokely (or world-renowned actor/author/astronaut for that matter!), but I have developed my own techniques for dealing with doubt.

Reality-check your success

First and foremost, I think it’s important to learn to differentiate between self-doubt and reality. This takes practice.

I’ve found that logically assessing your own achievements is a good way to tackle negative thought and emotions. Do a regular stocktake of your quantifiable, tangible achievements – actually write them down to make them more ‘official’ and so you can see in black and white what you’ve done.

And try not to just focus on the end goal. Even when you’re constantly striving to reach the summit, it’s important to take a moment to enjoy the view on your way up by celebrating the milestones – big and small – along the way. 

Get a fresh perspective on your performance

It’s true that we’re our own harshest critics and it’s easy to get caught up in your own self-doubt so it can help to ask others for their perspective on your abilities and what they see as your achievements.

Talking to people about the “am I good enough?” imposter thoughts can help you recognise that the thoughts are not a true reflection of your abilities, nor are they unusual – you’re likely to find others have felt the same way.

Seek out a supportive environment

Surround yourself with positive people who recognise and build your sense of worth. In a workplace, it can be as simple as having colleagues who give you positive feedback and acknowledge your achievements.

Mentors can also be incredibly effective in this regard. Whether you seek out a mentor through an official programme or opt for a more casual mentoring arrangement – perhaps with a colleague you admire – this type of professional relationship is a great way to get a career and confidence-boosting perspective on your skills and performance. The reverse is also true: becoming a mentor to someone else can benefit their career and give your confidence a boost at the same time.

I’ve discovered that Imposter Syndrome is a more common problem than we might think, but it doesn’t have to be a constant or continuing one. Self-belief is a must in business, so it’s important to acknowledge when doubt creeps in and deal with it so that you’re not dragged down by false thoughts.

Chris Niarchos is a lifelong entrepreneur and founder of The Cobra Group of Companies, which specialises in incubating, developing and managing a portfolio of start-up enterprises and successful companies.

 

4 essentials for a fulfilling career

We all want to enjoy our work and to find roles that use and develop our talents and enable us to be the best that we can be. But what exactly makes for a fulfilling career? Based on my own experiences in business, here are four things that I believe play an essential part in making work rewarding.

1) Do something you love

Admittedly, this is sometimes easier said than done, but too often, people wholesale nfl jerseys end up in jobs that they Lancement have no real interest in or, worse still, they actively dislike. The most successful and fulfilling careers come from being passionate about what you do. And it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no need to let a lack of experience or qualifications stop you from pursuing your dreams. Look for roles in your times area of interest that offer training and development opportunities.

Take Lawrence Lenzi, a successful business owner in the Appco UK network and the latest winner of the Marketing Company of the Year award: in his blog, he admits that when he started in the business he was “terrible” at sales! I’m enormously proud of the fact that the global Appco Group network is built on developing people’s professional and personal skills so they can pursue the career they want.

UK field representative Sophie Kola is benefitting from the Appco model in a different way. She’s using the flexibility of being self-employed to complete her studies, which is fantastic. Whatever you do, pursuing a line of work that you are passionate about is the first step towards enjoying a fulfilling career.

2) Stretch yourself

Taking on new challenges at work can of be daunting and it’s much easier to remain within your comfort zone, focussing on tasks that you feel confident and comfortable doing. But, while it may seem safe and appealing in the short term, failing to stretch yourself can in fact lead to dissatisfaction. You may BALA end up feeling bored in your role and you might struggle to achieve the level of success you’re striving for. Rather than shying away from testing situations, it pays off to embrace them. This will help you to build on your skill set, increase your confidence and fulfil your potential.

3) Be the master of your own destiny

Whether you are employed, self-employed or running your own business, you are the one who controls your ultimate career path and success. If you do set up in business for yourself you may have more freedom to pursue your own ideas and reap the full rewards of your success, but no matter what type of role you are in, never lose site of your goals. And remember, establishing your own company can be hugely rewarding, but it does require considerable effort, dedication and Effects the ability to enable wholesale nba jerseys others to pursue the dreams!

4) Make a difference

A major contributor to a fulfilling career is the belief that the work you do makes a positive difference to the people around you. For example, being proud of the products or services that your wholesale nba jerseys company offers or that you represent makes it easier to show up every day and contribute to their production or promotion. And, speaking from experience, nurturing talent within your organisation and seeing others flourish is incredibly satisfying. On a more personal level, your job may help you to look after your loved ones, which I believe is just as – if not more so – rewarding wholesale jerseys as any professional or financial success.

 

With decades of experience as a business leader, Chris Niarchos knows exactly what it takes to build a successful career. As well as honing his skills as an entrepreneur, he has achieved considerable success on the race track. You can find out more about this, and get Chris Niarchos’ statistics, on the FIA GT Championship website.