As a motivated professional you want to be better, you want to bring greater impact and achieve even more satisfaction out of your career. Yet there might be a voice behind your back questioning you. This voice might be saying to you “you’re not good enough”, “you’re not smart enough”, “you’re a fraud”, “someone is going to figure out you don’t know what you’re talking about”. This voice of negativity and fear is called Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome can affect and happen to any of us.
It does not discriminate. It can haunt you no matter what race, culture, or age you are. Even the most successful people in the world say they have experienced this type of self-doubt.
It’s harmful, but as a matter of fact, Imposter Syndrome is nothing more than a pattern of thoughts in our own minds that causes us to doubt our own competency and accomplishments. And it is these thoughts that create our fear of being judged and marked as fraud.
How does Imposter Syndrome show up?
Same as it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t show up the same way to everyone. For some, Imposter Syndrome shows up as constantly worrying that they’re not going to be able to live up to the expectation of their boss or teammate. For others, it shows up as avoiding taking on additional responsibility, or passing on a promotion and not taking the chance to accomplish something more. And for some, it shows up as not being able to complete a project or not being satisfied no matter how hard they work. They aim for perfection. Lastly, I’ve also seen it show up, as people not asking for help. People refuse to let a single flaw slip fearing others will think of them as incompetent.
But the way it can show up isn’t important. We should focus on the fact that it is real, and that almost 80% of the population experience Imposter Syndrome at least once in their life. — and it’s often the thing preventing them from being better, from creating great impact, and from feeling more fulfilled in their careers.
So, how can you deal with Imposter Syndrome? What can you do to overcome it?
- Talk about it
- Find a trusted colleague, a mentor, or a coach – these are the people who truly want to help and support you – talk to them and listen to what they have to say
- Accept that it’s okay to be wrong
- Accept perfection can’t be achieved – no one is free of all flaws
- Recognize your Imposter Syndrome voice – your own negative self-talk
- Listen and pay attention to when you doubt yourself. And whenever this happens follow it up with the question, “how true is it really?” Question your negative thoughts and challenge them
- Create a list of your accomplishments and skills, and reference it when the self-doubt creeps in. Use it as your proof that you are skilled, qualified and have achieved many things
- Remind yourself of all the reasons you were hired for your role – you wouldn’t be there if others thought you couldn’t do the job
Like I said, 80% of us will experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in our life. It’s a very normal part of life.
So, if you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome, let me tell you this, it’s okay. Try the steps above and reach out if you’d like to learn more about how to overcome Imposter Syndrome. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get a conversation started.