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‘Unrealistic self-expectation and stress’ sees imposter syndrome spike

Sasha Karen
05 April 2019 2 minute readShare
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Imposter Syndrome is a growing, common condition of Australian workers and business owners - but many of those affected aren't putting the right fixes in place. 

The Journal of Behavioural Sciences estimates that 70 per cent of people worldwide have experienced imposter syndrome, the belief that any success achieved is undeserved and that the worrier is going to be exposed as a fraud.

Further, Instant Offices claims that women are more likely to be impacted by imposter syndrome than men — at 66 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively — and that one in five small business owners admit to struggling with it.

However, Lucinda Pullinger, global head of HR at Instant Offices, said that there are methods that can beat imposter syndrome.

“Even though so many people have experienced imposter syndrome, the good news is that it’s not a permanent condition but rather a reaction to a set of circumstances, unrealistic self-expectation and stress,” Ms Pullinger said.

Jodie Harris, head of content and digital PR at MediaVision, said that the feeling that a business owner will be pulled up on their inexperience and find failure is something that she has felt from her own personal experience.

“From being an intern to being in the boardroom, questioning your place at the table can be disruptive to your progress and your confidence,” she said.

“One piece of advice I always tell my teams and myself is that your career did not come by chance, and where you are now and where you aim to be is justified.

“Know your worth and have conviction with your career goals. Success isn’t a lottery ticket, it’s earned.”

Here are her four tips that business owners can use to get ahead of the syndrome:

1. Accept praise and know your worth

Business owners should try to not shy away from praise and compliments, Mr Pullinger suggested.

“Accept your achievements and, if need be, write them down,” she said.

“When you try to talk yourself out of feeling confident in your role, all the proof is on paper.

“Knowing your worth means allowing your work to speak for itself and letting others see it, too.”

2. Stop thinking like an imposter

If business owners want to beat imposter syndrome, Ms Pullinger also suggested to try and stop thinking like an imposter and to cut back on negative thoughts as they arise.

“Learn to recognise self-defeating thought patterns and replace them with more positive affirmations,” she said.

“The only way to stop feeling like an imposter is to stop thinking of yourself as one.”

3. Don’t seek perfection

Trying to complete everything to 100 per cent should not be the bar for a job well done, as it instigates that anything less is a failure, Ms Pullinger said.

“Stop believing that if you don’t excel at every facet of your job that you’re a failure at all of it,” she said.

“Facing challenges and losses is a key part of growth, so recognise that you don’t have to be good at everything.”

4. Know you are not alone

Imposter syndrome is something that overachieving business owners are more likely to face than underachieving ones, Ms Pullinger added.

“If you’re constantly worried about not being good enough, chances are you’re in good company — most successful people constantly over-analyse themselves!” she concluded.

‘Unrealistic self-expectation and stress’ sees imposter syndrome spike
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Sasha Karen

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