Learn more about Imposter Syndrome and the soldiers and guests featured on this episode.
What are the moments when you feel like an imposter in your own life?
It’s likely that you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome in your life at some point. Most people have.
Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern that causes self-doubt and an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. It’s the nagging sense that you’re not supposed to be there, that you’re blagging it and that you’re going to get ‘found out’. It is common to feel like this at work, but it can also happen in social settings, in relationships, friendships and in your hobbies and passions.
If you’ve ever felt like this, you’re not alone. 62% of UK adults experience Imposter Syndrome at work, and it is even more common in younger people with 86% of 18-34-year-olds reporting that they have experienced Imposter Syndrome in the past year.
So, why is it that so many of us experience the feeling of being an imposter in our own lives? What is the root cause of these negative beliefs about ourselves? At the heart of it is a crisis of confidence. Imposter syndrome is usually triggered by intrusive thoughts that we tell ourselves over and over again. Thoughts like – my success is down to luck rather than my abilities, I’m ‘getting away with it’ at work, other people around me are better than me and more deserving of success. And these thoughts stem from a lack of long-term self-confidence.
Speaking on episode two of The Locker podcast, a new series from the British Army, professional footballer turned pundit, Jermaine Jenas, explained that he struggled with Imposter Syndrome at different points throughout his playing career. He said these feelings were caused by comparing himself to other players and feeling side-lined in the highly competitive and pressurised environment of elite football. To get through it, he had to cultivate a growth mind-set, and tackle his fear of failure head on.
Jermaine said that stepping away from the game and developing his punditry career has helped him to achieve this. He explained that authenticity is key. Being true to his beliefs and not trying to be anybody else has allowed him to develop a long-lasting sense of confidence and belonging in that world. He told us that football was ‘the vehicle to get him where he is today’.
It isn’t always easy to overcome Imposter Syndrome, but it is important. Imposter Syndrome can be more than a vague sense of feeling like you’re not good enough – it can have pervasive, damaging impact on your psychological well-being.
Imposter Syndrome is also linked to anxiety, depression and is associated with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain and body. Another study found that it could lead to emotional exhaustion and conflicts at home too. Which is why it’s so important to be aware when you feel like this and take steps to overcome it.
In addition to Jermaine, as part of The Locker podcast we also spoke to Connor a musician in the British Army. Connor joined as a musician and has been completely overwhelmed by the opportunities he has been offered since starting his career. As a gay man, Connor initially had his doubts about joining the Army – he had outdated visions of a macho, exclusive world that wouldn’t be welcoming for someone like him – but he was immediately empowered to be himself and is a proud member of the Army’s LGBTQ+ forum. The Army has allowed him to connect with like-minded people outside of his own bubble.
Like Jermaine, Connor has battled imposter Syndrome because of working in the competitive sector of elite music and performance. But, Connor explained that he has been encouraged to succeed at every level, which has allowed him to face his fear of failure and build on his own weaknesses.
The key thing to remember is that Imposter Syndrome is something that most people will experience at some stage in their lives. Finding spaces that empower you to be who you are, is the first step in overcoming self-doubt and building confidence that lasts a lifetime.
build confidence that will last for a lifetime.