If you’ve ever felt like you’re out of place or you don’t really know what you’re doing, you might have a case of Imposter Syndrome. Psychology Today states that people with Imposter Syndrome, “believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and are not as intelligent as others might think.” Essentially, it’s when we convince ourselves that our successes are based on luck, timing, and other factors out of our control—instead of realizing that we are responsible for making it happen.
The first time I had Imposter Syndrome was right after I graduated from college, after starting my new job (at ANDERSON, btw). I was fresh out of my cap and gown, in an entirely new state, in my own apartment, with a job that people my age would kill to get right out of school. But if you asked me, I would’ve told you I could be doing more, I’m not good enough, they should have picked someone else. I never actually considered that I could be chosen for a reason—I had worked hard to get where I was. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve experienced it too! Imposter Syndrome is fairly common, especially in women where the universal feeling of discomfort and anxiety in the workplace is almost to be expected.
Author Valerie Young, who wrote The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, found patterns in people who experience Imposter Syndrome:
- “Perfectionists” set high expectations for themselves, and even if they met most of their goals, any mistake will make them question their abilities.
- When the “natural genius” struggles to accomplish something, they think they aren’t good enough, as most of their skills usually come easy. When they have to put in effort, their brain convinces them they’re an imposter.
- “Soloists” feel like they need to work alone, and if they need to ask for help, this means that they are a failure.
- “Superpeople” push themselves to work harder than people around them to prove that they are not imposters. They need to succeed in all aspects of life, and feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something.
We don’t really know why people feel like impostors. Some believe it’s because of personality traits, others think it’s because of behavioral causes or childhood memories. What we do know is that there are a few ways to combat it. Check it out.
Identify What’s Messing With Your Confidence
Did you start a new job? Did you get assigned to an important project? Do you feel like you can’t catch your breath? Why do you not feel confident in your abilities? You’re probably underselling yourself. You got that job for a reason, rock it!
Share with Others
Talk with someone you trust about why your confidence is dwindling. They will be able to remind you why these things have happened, help you remember your achievements, and that your fears are—more likely than not—irrational.
You’re Not Fooling Them
Your boss and/or hiring manager is not dumb. Do not doubt the intelligence of the people who hired or promoted you; their choices were deliberate and calculated. AKA, you deserve to be there!
Update your language to reflect a strong, confident individual who deserves to be where they are. The more you hear it, the more you’ll believe it!
Dude, You’re Awesome!
Above all, remember this one thing: You wouldn’t feel this way if you weren’t successful. Ask the most successful people in the world, and they’ll likely tell you they’ve encountered this syndrome a time or two. Believe it or not, if you feel like a fraud, you’re probably on the right path.