Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern that many of us will face at one point or another. Put simply, the syndrome is the feeling of one doubting their accomplishments and worth. It can strike for various reasons – from feeling like a fraud at work, to doubting whether or not you fit in with your friends or family. It’s important to acknowledge when Imposter Syndrome strikes in order to combat it. Your feelings are valid, but so are your achievements.
Remember you’re not the only one feeling like this
Imposter Syndrome makes you doubt yourself. It generally triggers anxiety about being exposed as the ‘imposter’ you feel that you are. The root problem here lays in a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence, which is why the majority of us will experience it over time.
For me, Imposter Syndrome hits me most at work. As someone who is relatively self-taught and pro-active, I have days where I feel like I’m not worthy of the current position I am in. This isn’t true. I am worthy of my position, and have achieved many things during my career. However, I still get days where I feel like an imposter in the office. This can be triggered by someone asking me a difficult question, my coming into work to discover an inbox overload of emails from clients, or simply waking up and feeling anxious. This is all normal though, and for me it is a feeling that generally passes after a day or two.
What if my Imposter Syndrome lasts longer?
First of all, seek reassurance from a friend or a colleague.
If you’re feeling like an imposter in your friendship group, you might push your friends away by not making plans with them or turning down invitations. This is ultimately enforcing what you fear the most: being an imposter. Simply admitting to feeling anxious to one or more of the group will mean that you’ll probably find that they’ve had similar experiences as well. This will connect you and help you to stop internalizing your worry about being found out as a fraud.
With regards to work, talk to your manager or a work colleague you trust. They might be able to help you to solve issues that are probably triggering your Imposter Syndrome, like stress or a difficult client.
There are different ways to overcome it, find the one that works for you
If talking isn’t your thing, it is possible to try and push through Imposter Syndrome. Being pro-active and seeking out ways to reassure yourself that you’re not an imposter can be helpful.
At work, I recommend seeking out a mentor. Many business or industries have a society or a union that you can join that offers regular meet-ups, seminars and/or mentorship schemes with a colleague, manager or someone else.
I joined a mentorship scheme for my job and found that, not only did I know more than I thought I did, but I was actually being undervalued. This triggered a whole load of other thoughts. I discovered that I wasn’t getting back what I was putting in, and therefore felt confused as to my position in the company. This was contributing to my feelings of being an imposter.
When you get imposter syndrome, it may feel like it’s because you’re under-achieving somehow. When you examine it with the help of a friend or a mentor, you’ll actually discover the true reason for feeling Imposter Syndrome. You might be surprised by the results! Knowing how to overcome Imposter Syndrome is half of the battle!
Never feel embarrassed for feeling like an imposter; it is natural and a relatively easy fix. It is a matter of self-confidence and saying ‘not today’ whenever Imposter Syndrome approaches.