Have you heard of the imposter syndrome? If you haven’t, there’s a good chance you may have or are currently dealing with it. The text book definition of imposter syndrome is “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.” I’m going to share how to overcome it.
Let’s get practical
Let’s get less text book and more practical. Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in at work? Or that you were way in over your head? Have you ever accomplished something you didn’t feel you earned? These are all examples of imposter syndrome and how they play out in real life.
Many people, especially women, have experienced this and tend to feel it multiple times in their life and/or career. We’re always measuring ourselves against others but the truth is, success looks different for everyone.
After graduating college 11 years ago, I was fortunate to spend majority of the last 10 years at one company. I experienced rapid growth in the roles that I had as a result of working my booty off. Every time I moved into a different role, I thought, what the hell am I doing here? I thought everyone around me was going to figure out that I wasn’t fit for the role I was recruited for.
Silly me. What I started to learn through each transition was that I in fact was qualified and knew a lot about the job I had signed up for. Here’s how I deal with Imposter Syndrome…
When you are dealing with Imposter Syndrome, the thought of challenging yourself can seem absolutely terrifying. While it might at first, you’ll learn that challenging yourself and then accomplishing those challenges helps beat Imposter Syndrome.
In a moment where you are challenged, sit back and ask yourself this: “Why do I feel like I can’t do this? Or I don’t deserve this? Is this something that will hurt me, or is it purely based off of fear? What do I have to lose?” Walking yourself through a series of questions like this will make the situation very real, and you’ll soon learn to punch fear in the face!
Share your Imposter Syndrome thoughts with someone you trust
Yes, this one may be hard, but it is so worth it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve realized, through the help of someone else, that my thoughts or feelings related to Imposter Syndrome were completely false and not fact based.
I would suggest this person is a mentor or someone you trust at work. It will not only help you laugh at yourself, but it will also help boost your confidence.
Action vs thoughts
This one is critical. If you are dealing with Imposter Syndrome, you can not let your thoughts control your actions in the moment. Do not make decisions in the face of fear! There will be a ripple effect and one decision will affect many other things you have going on.
Remember to question your thoughts in the moment before you make a decision. If you can’t understand what is real vs fear, sleep on it or come back to the decision at a later time.
Have you ever dealt with Imposter Syndrome? What have you done to overcome it?
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This article was originally published 9/19/2019 and has been updated to include new information and links.