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How to Deal With
Imposter Syndrome

It's that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, when things are going well. That doubt that appears in your mind, when you should be celebrating that promotion at work. That sudden panic in your head, when you're starting your new job. Do I really deserve to be here? 

It’s something I’ve battled against all my life and only over the past few years have I realised, that it’s not a unique situation to find yourself in. In fact it seems so prevalent that it even has a few names you may know it by - the most common? Imposter Syndrome. 
Defined as feeling like you don’t belong, being unable to fully recognise your own accomplishments and having an internalised fear of being a fraud. Sound familiar? That’s because I’ve started to realise that so many of us have felt this way at one time or another. 
Here’s how I’ve started to deal with that pit of your stomach feeling and why I no longer let it dictate my worth and successes.
I hope this can help you like it's continuing to help me.

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Trust the faith that other people have and see in you

If we base these examples purely around career to keep things relatable, I feel that the top thing we ask ourselves when a promotion, new job offer or even award/reward comes into play, is why me? What does that person/company/team see in me that I’ve been the one who's been chosen to progress. What you have to remember is that however you see yourself, it’s likely not fully how other people see you. You may not immediately recognise why you deserve this next step but have faith that the person who has given you this opportunity, hasn’t done so on a whim. It will have been a well thought out, considered decision that rewards you for your hard work. as well as one that benefits your work place and colleagues. Another thing to remember, is not only should you trust that the person rewarding you believes you are more than capable of this opportunity but that nothing is black and white. The anxiety you feel about a step up or big move is completely normal and no one expects you to expertly undertake 100% of your new role, with perfection, straight away. The person who has trust that you’ll be great in what you do, is not only celebrating what you are capable of right now, but is celebrating what they see you are capable of in the long term. Put a little trust in their judgement and embrace the change. 

Allow yourself to celebrate your achievements fully

I’ve often spoken about this but as someone who was born and raised in Britain, it’s almost engrained in me to be modest. To downplay my achievements, to act surprised at my own successes and to avoid at all costs the terrifyingly real possibility, you might be seen as arrogant by congratulating yourself. Guess what? I got over that a long time ago now. Surrounding myself with kickass women who feel they should be proud of themselves too, has been invaluable. I celebrate me, I celebrate my friends, I celebrate my colleagues - we shouldn’t feel the need to hide our successes, it’s okay to be proud of yourself and it’s okay to be your own biggest cheerleader. Don’t dismiss how great your successes are and also how hard you worked for them. If this seems an incredibly scarey step, I suggest you take some inspiration from the wonderful Patricia Bright. Unashamedly proud of herself and everything she achieves, I always think to myself, how wonderful life would be if we all raised ourselves and others up, the way Patricia chooses to do. Celebrate yourself - you deserve it I promise.

Recognise those feelings and work through them

A little while ago I caught the end of an episode of a TV show, where one of the lead characters work had been plagiarised and she was trying to explain to the person who had stolen her work (albeit comedically), why they weren’t experiencing imposter syndrome. Simply put, because they were the faux imposter. They were receiving accolades and awards for the work she had done and this really is one of the simplest ways to look at imposter syndrome. More likely than not if you are experiencing some form of ‘why do I deserve this/should I be here?’ it’s more than likely you do deserve these accolades. It seems the syndrome is a natural human reaction that most of us have experienced, even just subtly and one that the more I see others talk about, the more I recognise it's relatively commonplace. Nerves, self doubt, anxiety - all horrible feelings but feelings that keep us on our toes in small doses and keep us driving forward in the end. 

At the end of the day, even though you may doubt yourself for one reason or another, deep down you will know if you deserve the opportunities, chances and achievements that are awarded to you. If you haven’t cheated, defrauded or conned your way to wherever you’ve found yourself, you can be safe in the knowledge you deserve this. Be a little kinder to yourself and remember, just because you don’t see the faith other people have in you quite yet, maybe you will soon.

These images were taken on a press trip to Barcelona with the wonderful Pronovias team. 

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