Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Financial Services

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is an underlying feeling that you are a phony despite your ability to perform well in your field.  It exhibits through feelings that you are not capable or intelligent enough. Symptoms of imposter syndrome include feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, extreme self-doubt, and negative self-talk.

What Can You Do?

There are lots of ways to deal with imposter syndrome that will be tailored to your particular needs, but here are a few strategies that may help:

Write Down Your Successes

Take some time out daily or weekly to write out what you have done well.  This will help you focus more on what you can achieve and how well you are doing.  You may also take some time to write down past accomplishments in terms of training, and certifications–basically, anything that makes you stand out from others in financial services.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Comparing yourself to others is normal and common. We all do it.  However, it’s not a useful practice. Comparisons are usually unfair as we judge ourselves internally but judge others externally.  Comparisons are usually based on assumptions, which are often incorrect and made through rose-colored glasses.  We cannot control others, we can only control ourselves.

Change Negative Self-Talk Into Positive

After you’ve accepted that you deal with imposter syndrome, you can catch yourself in your descent into negative self-talk. There are many ways to combat this tendency.  One way is to write down the negative thoughts and counter them with reasons they are not true.

Stop Being a Perfectionist

Being perfect can seem like a good thing except that it causes you to set impossibly high standards for yourself and then leaves you with deep anxiety when you fail. Overall, being a perfectionist is self-sabotaging and will exclude you from being happy and able to focus on what you do well.

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