Do You Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome?
<p>When you started out as a self-employed person, you may have doubted your skills. Doubting your ability to do something is very common and, in some cases, beneficial. After a few contracts, did you not feel comfortable with your work? Have you been afraid of not being competent to do the job, not having enough expertise in your field to offer your services or are you attributing your previous successes to luck? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be suffering from the impostor syndrome.</p> <h3><strong>What is the Impostor Syndrome?</strong></h3> <p>The impostor syndrome was discovered a few decades ago by two American psychologists researching women with high-status jobs. The researchers noticed that most of the time these women felt that their skills had not been the reason for their success. Of course, this intrigued the psychologists who eventually came up with the name, the impostor syndrome.</p> <p>Specifically, the impostor syndrome is when people, often professionals, feel they do not deserve their position or business. They believe that they are incompetent, and their success is more related to luck or by a combination of circumstances. They never say that it is because of their abilities that they have succeeded. As a result, they feel like imposters and are afraid of being found-out by others. It can therefore keep them from advancing in their career. The syndrome can affect all professionals, men or women, as well as freelancers and self-employed people. Unfortunately, this symptom can lead to more serious problems such as burnout and a lack of self-confidence.</p> <p> The impostor syndrome can be someone who feels deep down that he or she does not deserve a promotion or an award of excellence. It can also be someone who always downplays his/her good work and ability. This modesty can, in reality, be a mask for a lot of anxiety because these people are afraid of not being competent. On the freelance and self-employed side, have you ever listened to that little inner voice that prevented you from applying for a contract because you would not be good enough despite all your skills and experience? Are you afraid your customers will discover that you are not the professional you claim to be? You may not have a doctorate in your field, but you may be doing a great job anyway.</p> <p>There is a test that you can take online called the Clance Scale that can give you an idea of whether you have the symptoms of this syndrome. </p> <h3><strong>How to Get Rid of the Impostor Syndrome?</strong></h3> <p><strong> </strong>There is no magic trick for getting rid of this syndrome; however, there are some things you can do to help you recognize and accept your good work. To begin, try to become aware of the moments when you criticize yourself unfairly or when you do not have anything positive to say about your work. The first step in changing one's habits is often to realize that these habits exist. Why not list the number of times you have avoided something because you felt like an impostor? You may do it more often than you think. Then why not take a moment to get to know yourself better? If you have a lot of doubt in your ability and think that your colleagues, partners or clients are wrong in saying that you are doing a good job, is it because you no longer know what your strengths and weaknesses are? You are probably better than you think. Make a list of at least 10 strengths you possess to prove to yourself that you are someone competent. Tell yourself that if you have this contract or this promotion, it's because you deserve it.</p> <p> Another thing you can do when you are in doubt is to keep the positive feedback you have received as a result of your work. This can be a compliment from a friend or the return of a happy customer at your job. Find them and gather them in the same place. That way, when you feel like you don’t belong, just read the positive feedback to make yourself realize you can do it. Also, add to this list all the good work you have done. Maybe after a few successes you will notice that you have overcome the challenges. We are not Superman who can do anything. We are human and sometimes we forget that. In addition, do not hesitate to ask for psychological help if you feel the need.</p> <p> </p> <p>In conclusion, the impostor syndrome can attack anyone, and it is important to be aware of it. If you wanted to start your own business, it was because you wanted it and because you felt you were able to do it. You may not be the most knowledgeable person in your field, but do you meet the needs of your clients? Do they give you more work or referrals to other clients? If you answered yes to these questions, you are probably a professional appreciated by your customers and this is probably one of the most important things for a freelancer or self-employed person.</p>