Have you ever felt that you were just not good enough, despite your achievements? 
You are not alone. Here, we will explore imposter syndrome - what it is, who it affects, and most importantly, how to beat it. 
What is imposter syndrome? 
Imposter syndrome is that nagging feeling that you're not as competent as others perceive you to be. It's the voice telling you you're a fraud despite evidence of your accomplishments. 
Who experiences imposter syndrome? 
Imposter syndrome doesn't discriminate. It affects people from all walks of life but is particularly prevalent among high achievers and perfectionists. 
Research by the training and apprenticeship provider Executive Development Network, as reported by Personnel Today, found that while imposter syndrome is common, with 50% of UK adults affected, some groups suffer significantly more than others. 
More than 5,000 individuals were surveyed, revealing imposter syndrome affects more than half of women (54%) and 38% of men. Non-binary individuals are particularly affected, with 57% doubting their abilities at work. Sexual orientation also plays a role, with bisexual (69%) and homosexual (57%) individuals experiencing imposter syndrome more than the average (50%). 
Age also impacts self-belief. Generation Z (66%) and millennials (58%) are more likely to experience imposter syndrome than Generation X (41%) and those in their sixties (25%). 
"We can't all be imposters, can we?" Dr. Jessamy Hibbard, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, bestselling author and speaker. 
Why does imposter syndrome happen? 
Imposter syndrome stems from a combination of factors, including perfectionism, fear of failure, and a tendency to attribute success to luck rather than ability. Societal pressures and unrealistic expectations often fuel it. 
How does imposter syndrome affect work? 
Imposter syndrome can create problems at work, leading to self-doubt, anxiety, panic and procrastination. It can also prevent you from seizing opportunities and reaching your full potential, undermining your confidence and performance. 
Steps to combat imposter syndrome 
Step 1: Recognise how it manifests in you to spot the signs early. 
Everyone will experience imposter syndrome differently and will be triggered by different experiences. Being able to spot when imposter syndrome kicks in, will help you to stop it progressing and take back control. 
What leads you to experience imposter syndrome? 
• Does it kick-in when you have a particularly high workload? 
• Perhaps you worry about presenting to an audience? 
How does imposter syndrome make you feel? 
• Do you have any physical symptoms, such as feeling sick or anxious? 
• Where do you feel this in your body? 
What are the thoughts going through your head? 
• What are they saying? 
• What does it sound like? 
The 'voice in your head' is your inner critic. We all have one – that voice that criticizes, belittles, and judges you. It can be cruel and damaging. It magnifies the negative and can seriously impact your mental well-being if left unchecked. It is known to say things like ‘you are not good enough’, ‘you are stupid’, ‘you are unlovable’ etc. It might take the voice of a parent, ex-partner or boss. In cognitive behavioural therapy, the inner critic is also referred to as automatic negative thoughts. 
What do these thoughts and feelings lead you to do? 
• Do they have a positive or negative impact? 
• Does it allow you to do something good, or avoid something unpleasant? 
Now that you have an awareness for how imposter syndrome manifests in you, you can consciously address it. 
There are lots of different ways to tackle imposter syndrome, here is one method that I recommend to all my clients as a starting point. 
Step 2: Change your inner critic into your inner coach 
So back to the inner critic voice/automatic negative thoughts. Now I want you to take your inner critic and turn it into your inner coach, your biggest cheerleader and supporter. If it’s helpful, consider what would your best friend, partner or close colleague say to you in that moment? 
Whenever you hear that automatic negative voice, take a mental step back and label it – ‘That is my inner critic talking. What would my inner coach say instead?’ Perhaps something like ‘You are enough, ‘you are smart’, and ‘you are loved’. 
This does take time to get to grips with, as it requires you to spot an automatic process, stop it in its tracks and choose to follow a different path, but eventually you can reprogramme your inner critic to become your inner coach. 
Once you can easily recognize your inner critic, and call it out for what it is, then you are halfway there. 
Solution: how I can help 
Imposter syndrome can hold us back, even when achieving great things. Understanding and tackling it is vital to unlocking our full potential as leaders. That's where executive coaching comes in. 
Through 1:1 executive coaching we explore how imposter syndrome manifests for you and learn how to spot the signs early. Through various tools and techniques, I will help you to work through imposter syndrome, without letting it take over and stop you from doing what you want to do. 
Remember you are not alone on this journey. Let's connect and explore how to work together to overcome imposter syndrome. Reach out to me or connect on LinkedIn today! 
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