Conquer Imposter Syndrome
We’ve all felt it – that creeping sense of inadequacy, even in things at which others consider you an expert. Whether it’s the result of a new job, a new role in your current job, or just a particularly tough project, imposter syndrome isvery real and can actively hold you back from trying and succeeding at new things.
Imposter syndrome comes in many forms and affects many types of people. Perfectionists never feel like they’re quite good enough. Those with strict parents may feel like they’re always behind where they should be.
Some people just don’t trust themselves and their instincts – for any number of reasons. Whatever the cause, imposter syndrome, while not a diagnosable psychological condition, is very real and can cause you to doubt everything you attempt either before or during.
For this reason, we’ve gathered a few tips for how to recognize and conquer imposter syndrome before it undercuts your efforts to grow and advance in your career.
Knowing the Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome
So how do you know when you’ve crossed the line from humility to negative self-talk? Listen to yourself and the messaging you’re repeating. Even write it down every day in a journal so you can look back and recognize when things start to go south. Some of the common feelings associated with imposter syndrome include:
- Feeling like you are where you are because you got lucky
- Worrying that people will quite literally find out you don’t belong in your role – you are an imposter
- Feeling that you aren’t prepared or experienced enough for a project to which you’ve been assigned
- Fearing every phone call or meeting you take because of these issues
These are not healthy feelings, and all of them indicate that your internal voice is undercutting your efforts.
Learn How to Evaluate Mistakes
For someone who feels inadequate on the job, mistakes only feed the beast and make it worse. Instead of falling into instant despair whenever you mess up, take these opportunities to learn what you should do next.
Recognize that you aren’t on top of your game that day, write down what happened, and evaluate what you did wrong and how to do better. When you look at mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve instead of validation that you don’t belong, you’ll not only flip the script to positive thinking, you will get better.
Admit Your Shortcomings
There’s a fine line between legitimately not knowing something and feeling like youdon’t know enough. The problem is that many people won’t admit to others when they don’t know something.
Contrary to how most of us feel in those situations, the truth is that no one expects you to know everything. You are a human being learning and growing on the job –admitting that you don’t know something and then taking the actions to either go learn about it (if you’re in a junior role) or ask for the input of others (for leaders) is the best way to admit your shortcomings. In turn, you won’t feel like you’re faking it – everything you do, you do from a position of experience and expertise.
Remember, You’re Not Alone
This is a big one.
Most people feel like a spy, hiding their ignorance on certain issues in plainsight. In reality, everyone has the same feelings as you. Everyone doubts. Worries. Wonders. You are absolutely not alone in this.
The number of people who are legitimate experts at any given task (let alone the dozens of tasks that make up a career) is relatively small. Remember this, and you won’t feel alone in your feelings. Better yet, you can help others to boost self-esteem and overcome their nagging doubts.
Be More Positive
The human mind is a tricky thing. Your feelings, however truthful they may be, canbe influenced by your thoughts. If you’re constantly saying, “I’m bad at this” or “I hope I don’t mess up,” anxiety and stress will follow.
That’s not to say that you can simply will negative feelings out of your life, but taking some of the following steps toward positive thinking can certainly help recalibrate your mindset a bit:
- Use positive language to interact with others. Avoid complaining at lunch or pointing out issues others have.
- Write down what you are grateful for every day, either in the morning or at the end of the day. Make it a daily habit to remind yourself what went well.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Make friends with people who empower and make you feel good. Attend industry events and read books that are designed to build up and not tear down.
All of these things are related – to conquer imposter syndrome, you must build afoundation of positive energy, trust that you will do your job as well as you can, and remember that you are not alone when you start to feel a little lost.
How have you conquered imposter syndrome? Share your tips in the comments below.