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Is imposter syndrome getting in the way of your confidence?

Business Life 04-02-2020

We all know people amongst us who ooze self-confidence. They’re always ready to rise to new challenges and seize opportunities. Their LinkedIn boasts all the right words and numbers, and they just seem to have a knack for being able to deal with any difficult situations that might arise.

But surprisingly for most, the the most outwardly confident person can still struggle with their self-esteem.  

“People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that self-confidence and self-esteem are the same, when in fact they are quite different,” says The Clear Coach Rakish Rana, who thrives on helping people to transform their lives. “Self-confidence is your trust in your abilities or aptitude to get something done, whereas self-esteem is your sense of self-worth and you feel about yourself.”

Rakish says that an outwardly confident person may seem to have the necessary abilities to complete a task, but there’s much more than meets the eye. “Someone who seems to be very confident might be expected to fulfil tasks such as give a public speech. However, they may not necessarily feel good about themselves and would therefore need and seek public approval.

“Over time this may cause imposter syndrome, where their lack in their own belief and worth would diminish their high capabilities because they are unable to internalise their own success and accomplishments.”

Rakish suggests that developing genuine self-confidence comes from recognising and internalising your past accomplishments.

“Understanding that your past wins have come from overcoming challenges and possible failures has allowed you to build up a level of resilience to face further challenges and failures to go onto bigger accomplishments,” he says. “When facing a difficult situation, self-confidence gives you the faith and motivation to face the challenge, knowing full well that it may not be easy, but it will be possible.”

Rakish shares habits that he believes are critical to developing genuine self-confidence.

  • Visualisation. Not only does visualisation allow to you picture your goal, but you can live the emotions and feelings of accomplishing something to set you in the right frame of mind. The process can also allow you to look back to see what hurdles you may have overcome to achieve your goal.
  • Power Pose. Amy Cuddy, in her now famous Ted Talk, spoke about ‘power poses’. The technique suggests standing in a posture that they mentally associate with being powerful. The psychological effect of doing a ‘power pose’ essentially releases the same chemicals in the brain as you would get from achieving or winning something. Cuddy goes on to say that by doing this you could, “fake it till you become it!”
  • Split goals. Chunk up your goals by taking what might seem like an unsurmountable objective and splitting it into multiple tasks that are more manageable. The process of finishing something, whether it be for something small or large, has the same effect on the brain. The sense of accomplishment provides the motivation to then carry on.
  • Reframe your mind set. Too often when faced with difficulties, we see them as problems. Start viewing them as challenges that you need to overcome, and as opportunities that can lead to bigger and better things. Start becoming solution-focussed.

Admiral William McRaven spoke about how making your bed first thing in the morning would provide you with the first accomplished task of the day,” says Rakish. “This would then encourage you to go on and do further tasks. Identify your quick wins that will give you a sense of pride and purpose to keep going.”

These very habits helped Rakish to build up his own sense of self-esteem and develop genuine self-confidence.

“Having a genuine interest and being good academically allowed to me to go on to receive my doctorate,” he says. “This is an accomplishment which I always have to look back on and see what was needed to achieve it. Just the thought of my PhD gives me a sense of pride and fills me with confidence to face challenges before me. 

“When I decided that I wanted to start writing blog articles, I was fearful that I would not be able to write anything. But remembering how I was able to write my PhD thesis gave me the confidence to start writing short articles. And with each article I wrote, my confidence only grew.”

“Confidence is a very attractive quality,” says Rakish. “By building up your self-confidence you become highly resilient to setbacks. You start to explore more opportunities than you otherwise would and in turn you start to attract similar minded people.”

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