At a high-flying institution like LSE, it can be common to experience impostor syndrome. LSE students are some of the most impressive people you may meet. They have big dreams, and many of them have achieved some life goals that are truly astounding by the time they have reached the final year of their degree. Along with the internship culture surrounding the university, LSE students are often exposed to environments where they may feel inferior due to the achievements of others, which is often not the best feeling to experience. Here, I’ll take you through some great ways to deal with and minimise imposter syndrome.
Recognise your own achievements
There’s a difference between being boastful, and acknowledging things you have achieved with gratitude. Leaning towards the latter is a helpful key to overcoming imposter syndrome and reducing an inferiority complex. It’s good to remind yourself of where you’ve come from and what you’ve been successful at. Doing this can make you feel instantly better about yourself, and make you much more appreciative of your own journey and the decisions that have led you to where you are. In situations which are challenging, this can boost your self-confidence and give you that extra push to excel even more.
Stop comparing yourself
Don’t compare yourself with others. Every student is running their own race, and pursuing their own path. Even though there are other people pursuing careers that might be similar to yours, acknowledge that people achieve things at different times in their lives. As the expression goes, comparison is the thief of joy and it’s definitely true of many people who encounter this problem. Comparing yourself negatively to someone else not only stops your own progress, it makes you feel worse about yourself for absolutely no reason. It’s better for you to understand where you are in life than to feel as though you are behind. There’s no such thing as being behind, everyone will reach their goals at different times.
Talk to someone you trust
Many of us have people in our lives who provide some clarity when we go through difficult situations, or can offer us a different perspective. If your imposter syndrome is particularly challenging and you feel inadequate, it’s a good idea to speak to a parent, sibling, mentor or friend. Make sure you trust the person and you can truly open up to them about how you feel. A problem shared is a problem halved, so once you’re open in your discussions with someone else, you should feel a much lighter load than before.
Shift your language and change your thoughts
Our words are often projections of our thoughts, and much of the time, the way we speak is a powerful reflection of how we are feeling. If your thoughts about being in a particularly overwhelming situation are negative, try and think more positively about your situation and chances of success. This can be done by actively making the decision to shift your thoughts from a place that is pessimistic to one that is more optimistic.
Additionally, try not to speak of yourself negatively to others or even to yourself. This perception can be carried forward into the way that people perceive you, but not before changing the way you see yourself. If you decide to stop projecting yourself as someone who doesn’t deserve success or an important position, you’ll eventually start to believe that you are those things, and that you have those qualities. This is really important to having a good understanding of who you truly are.
Imposter syndrome is something that people of all positions, ages and backgrounds experience. It’s less to do with who you actually are, and more to do with your perception of yourself. Remember that it’s a journey that even some people in senior positions still experience. The best thing you can do for yourself is commit yourself to acknowledging it, and give yourself the time to work on diminishing it.
If you find yourself struggling with imposter syndrome during your time at LSE, explore the help offered by the LSE Student Counselling service.