You didn’t get lucky. You deserve to be here. Here’s how to cope when imposter syndrome strikes – in the board room or on the golf course.

Ever felt like you’re winging it, like you don’t really deserve to be somewhere? Then you’ve probably experienced imposter syndrome.

What is imposter syndrome?

According to hypnotherapist, Lizzie Smith, 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. It’s the fear of being found out to be not as competent as others believe you are.

People suffering from imposter syndrome attribute their success to external factors and luck. That in turn leads to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and low self-confidence.

“I got lucky.”

“My handicap shouldn’t really be this low.”

“It’s just a matter of time before people realise I shouldn’t be here.”

Sound familiar? Well, I can tell you I’ve been struck with these glorious feelings more times than I’d like to admit – at work, socially, on the golf course and in a fair few club houses.

Supposedly, imposter syndrome is more likely to impact women than men. The rationale behind that is that you’re more likely to experience it when you don’t see people who look like you succeeding in whatever it is you’re doing.

In other words, we second-guess our own ability when we don’t fit the stereotypes around us.

And that makes total sense.

I’ve sat in more meetings than I can count as the only woman at the table.

I’ve played in hundreds of competitions as the only woman on the golf course.

And I’ve walked into more clubhouses than I can remember as the only woman in the bar.

But instead of thinking, “I’ve worked hard to get here”, my default thinking is, “I don’t think should I be here. I better stay quiet.”

How to overcome it

I can’t confess to have completely overcome imposter syndrome. Far from it.

But I’ve definitely learned some tactics to deal with it better than I did when I was younger.

1. Change the narrative

The first step to dealing with critical thinking is to change the way you speak to yourself. Replace negative thoughts, like “I don’t deserve to be here” with positive ones like “I’ve worked hard to get to this point and therefore I deserve to be here”.

2. Let go of perfectionism

Perfectionism fuels impostor syndrome. If you feel like a fraud, it's probably because you're comparing yourself to some perfect outcome that's neither possible or realistic.

3. Write down your wins

It’s much easier to convince yourself of your success when you can see it in black and white. Make an effort to write down all of your wins, no matter how big or small.

Don’t like practising your short game but spent an hour on the putting green? Congratulate yourself and write it down.

Shot under your handicap for the first time? Write it down.

Whatever makes you feel good about what you’ve achieved – document it.

4. Say “yes” more

This one is about my earlier point that we’re more likely to experience imposter syndrome when we don’t see people like us around.

That’s especially prevalent within golf.

But it is a cycle that, as women, we can all help to break. The more we say yes to new opportunities in golf, the more we increase the visibility of women in the game.  

5. Book a hypnotherapy session

Lizzie Smith tells us that hypnotherapy is a really effective way of dealing with a magnitude of problems; from menopause to imposter syndrome. It helps you to reset and quieten your inner critic; create a new script and start believing in yourself. You’ll feel empowered and confident, and keep imposter syndrome at bay.