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Imposter Syndrome: 3 Tips on How to Overcome It

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Imposter syndrome is a term that was coined in 1978 by psychologists Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. While the term was first coined in 1978, imposter syndrome has been an experience men have faced throughout time.

One study found that about 70% of people will or have felt like an imposter at some point. Some notable people who have experienced imposter syndrome include Albert Einstein, Tom Hanks, Serena Wiliams and others.

So, what is imposter syndrome and what impact can it have on a man?

Imposter Syndrome & Its Impact

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Many men don't talk about imposter syndrome if they experience it. It is a very sensitive topic as imposter syndrome can create significant feelings of self-doubt.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is when you may doubt your talent, skills, and ability to succeed despite what your accomplishments may say. Symptoms of imposter syndrome include:

  • A belief that you've fooled others into thinking you're more skilled than you are.

  • You credit your success to luck, charm, personality, networking, other's misjudgment, or other things besides your abilities.

  • You notice "The Imposter Cycle". This happens when you start a task either with intense over-preparation or with procrastination followed by frantic planning. When you finish the task successfully, you feel accomplished and relieved. This cycle starts over when a new task comes along and again triggers feelings of anxiety and doubt.

Once example is promotions at work. When you are promoted to a higher level position, it is because your boss has found your skills, talents, and accomplishments suitable for a higher position.

Once in the new, higher position, approximately 70% of people may at some point feel inadequate, incompetent, or not skilled enough to be in that position. Despite their accomplishments and talent that led to them getting the promotion, there is a deep sense at their core that they will be found out as a fraud at any moment. A person may feel they got the promotion for any other reason than their abilities and talents.

It's a war between our logical brain and this deep seated emotional element. Our logical brain can point out the reasons why we are a great fit and deserve the promotion. Yet the emotional brain brings up feelings of insecurity, self doubt, and fear of being "found out".

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Most of us men will simply push through imposter syndrome. Afterall, we just got a promotion at work, are making more money, and an increase in our lifestyle.

Many may have a family to support. This increase in position and salary affords us to better take care of ourselves and our family. The pressure to continue to succeed and not fail drive us to just push through it. Our hope is that is just goes away at some point.

What can happen if we don't address imposter syndrome is that it can create significant emotional discord internally. And this can lead to obstacles that block our path towards happiness and continued success.

What happens more often is that it doesn't go away. In fact, it can lead to increases in stress and pressure. This increase in stress and pressure can often lead to increase in anxiety, can develop into panic attacks, social anxiety, lead to depression and other deeper emotional challenges.

Most men, even though imposter syndrome is shouting at them that they are a fake, can "fake" their way through for some time. If imposter syndrome persists and it develops into anxiety, panic attacks, social. anxiety, depression or other challenges, this can have a serious impact on your career as well as your relationships.

3 Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

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There are effective strategies in overcoming imposter syndrome. Some of these you can do on your own. Some you may need the help of others. But there is a way out.

1. Accomplishment List & Cancel the "Ya Buts"

There is a war between your logical brain and the emotional brain with imposter syndrome. Your logical brain brings up example after example of why you deserve the promotion and position. The emotional brain brings up the "ya buts" of why it wasn't due to anything you did to earn the promotion:

  • Logical Mind: "I deserve this because I increased sales by 150% in one year."

  • Emotional Mind: "Ya, but you really didn't do anything that anyone else couldn't do. The economy strengthened during this year and people spent money not because of what you did but because it was just a strong economy."

While the economy may have played a role in this person's success, it still took a talented, skilled, and driven person to increase sales.

Imposter syndrome is like a living, breathing creature. It wants to grow and thrive. Anytime we list our accomplishments, it's a threat to its survival.

Which mind we feed will determine which wins out. Making a physical, written list of the accomplishments you have made in your life helps.

Along with writing down the accomplishments, soak yourself in them. Dive deep into the growth that occurred in your life in order to accomplish what you have. Take credit for the talent, skills, and drive. Sure, there are others who contributed but it was you who accomplished.

Eliminate the "ya buts". When you think this thought, recognize that it's the imposter syndrome trying to distract you from your accomplishments. Recognizing your accomplishments helps starve the imposter syndrome.

2. Compete Against Yourself, Not Other's Accomplishments

I was new to website development, search engine optimization, and how to rank well in Google. I hired an SEO consultant who helped train me.

One session, I was asking about what other practices were doing to rank well on Google. I was comparing what I was doing against what they were doing. Her advice was that "You're not competing against others, you're competing against yourself."

This shifted my perspective. I started to compete against MY best not other people's best. Comparing myself to others accomplishments isn't an accurate gauge on my own accomplishments.

We are all different with different paths on getting where we are and where we want to be. No two people get there the same way.

When you have that itch to compare yourself against others at work or in your personal life, remember that "You're not competing against others, you're competing against yourself" and your personal best.

3. Don't Push it Down, Bring it Up

Talking about imposter syndrome can be hard for many of us. Who wants to admit that they "feel" like a fraud or imposter to another person.

Yet when we stop pushing it down and bring this up with someone we trust, they it can help let some of the pressure off that is building. It can also help by the other person providing you their perspective on your accomplishments.

While we may go through the list of accomplishments in our minds, having another person share with you what they have observed can cement in our minds our ability and talent to succeed.

Other people may also have suggestions for you that you have not thought of. My SEO consultant shared with me one valuable perspective that helped shift my paradigm. A very simple statement that had a powerful effect.

Therapy for Men: Therapists Who Specialize in Men's Therapy

Sometimes we try all the above and then some and yet imposter syndrome still persists. It may be affecting our confidence in our ability to succeed at levels we know we are capable of. Imposter syndrome can also impact our relationships with others.

If you are finding that despite your best efforts imposter syndrome is interfering with your happiness and success in life, it may be time to reach out to a c0unselor for men.

A counselor who specializes in men's counseling can help provide the extra support and coaching. This additional support and coaching can make the difference in helping you rid yourself of imposter syndrome.

Katy Counseling for Men: Counselors Who Specialize in Men's Therapy in Katy, TX & Houston

You don't need to live with imposter syndrome any longer. It limits your ability to perform and succeed like you know you can. There are many men who have experienced imposter syndrome and through men's therapy, have overcome it.

At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, our therapists, who specialize in therapy for men, are ready to help.

If you are ready to start building a stronger future together, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Counseling for Men

  2. Meet with one of our men's counselors

  3. Start your journey in building a stronger future today

Other Wellness Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston

At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a variety of both talk therapy and non-talk therapy approaches in counseling for men. Below are a few of what we have to offer:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Board Certified Neurofeedback

Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy

About the Author

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Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics.

Jason is the owner of Katy Counseling Specialists, PLLC (KCM). KCM is the parent company for Katy Teen & Family Counseling and Katy Counseling for Men.

Jason specializes in teen therapy, young adult counseling, family therapy, and neurofeedback.

Jason also specializes in clinical program development, business administration. and leading high performing teams of specialized therapists in group practice settings.

Jason is a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling as an expert program consultant providing coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.

Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our sister program website, Katy Teen & Family Counseling under "Featured Articles".

Jason has also been a guest on Fox 26 Houston and on a podcast, "Grow a Group Practice" with Alison Pidgeon.

If you are ready to start building your stronger future today, call, text, or email us.

Phone Number: 832-346-9614

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