Difficult life decisions, such as finding the right university degree or deciding on a job offer, tend to trigger impostor syndrome, says Dr Young. And our round-the-clock work ethic doesn’t help either, as we re expected to think, decide and act faster than ever. “It’s harder to feel competent ifyou’re overwhelmed,” explains Dr Young. “You feel less articulate, less decisive and less focused.” So when you do manage to keep all the balls in the air, you assume you just got lucky.
The stumbling block
The big problem with feeling like a fraud? Not only does that little doubting voice in your head take the shine off your achievements and undermine your confidence, it can stop you from chasing your dreams, too. “Out offear of falling short some people avoid accepting opportunities to grow and challenge themselves,” says Cribb. “Ifthey do engage, they often put a great deal of pressure on themselves and forgo selfcare in order to get the job done, which can make them vulnerable to stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression.”
Constantly questioning your abilities and decisions is also a really effective way to lose grasp ofyour identityand purpose in life, Cribb adds. “Ifyou constantly worry about what people think of you, you can lack a secure sense of self and be more prone to adapting your preferences to suit others, feeling little personal satisfaction.” You might feel out ofyour depth when you’re facing a challenge, but there’s every reason to believe you’ve got the goods to ace it. You just need to turn down the volume on your inner critic. “Once you become aware of how hard you are on yourself and recognise that your thoughts are just thoughts and not facts, it can be easier to own the criticism in your own mind, not project it into the minds of others,” Cribb explains.
Need some help telling your fears to rack off? Use these expert strategies when that impostor feeling kicks in.