Do you feel like you’re somehow conning your boss and coworkers into thinking you’re better at your job than you really are? Do you respond to praise by explaining why your work wasn’t actually that impressive? Do you think you have to work extra hard so people don’t notice that you don’t know what you’re doing? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may have Imposter Syndrome.
The term “Imposter Syndrome” has been around since the late ‘70s, but it’s been a popular topic in the business world lately. So if you’re feeling like a poser, what can you do to combat it?
Simply put, Imposter Syndrome means that you feel like you’re being overestimated and that somehow no one has noticed that you’re an underqualified “imposter.” This might manifest itself in ways like high anxiety, refusal to celebrate your own achievements, or overworking yourself in an attempt to make up for your supposed inadequacies.
Of course, if these feelings are debilitating to you, it’s best to seek treatment from a mental health professional who can help you identify strategies to stop feeling like a fraud. If your anxieties aren’t quite to that level, though, try some of these ideas.
If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome, you probably struggle to recognize your own successes. Try writing down your accomplishments and keeping positive feedback and compliments from others in a folder. They should help silence the voice in your head that’s telling you you’re not good enough. If you’re still having trouble thinking of your accomplishments, focus on what you’re learning instead of how you’re performing.
Accepting help and creating meaningful relationships helps you feel less stressed. Create a support system and find someone you can talk to when you’re feeling inadequate. They can remind you that you’re being too hard on yourself, and they probably have a similar experience that they can share with you. Which brings me to the next tip.
Statistics show that as many as 70% of people experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives, and it’s more prevalent among high achievers. The number one fear of executives all over the world is people finding them incompetent. Whatever you’re worried about? Someone else in the room is probably worried about it too.
We seem to focus too much on perfection at work (myself included). And we’re harder on ourselves than anyone else is! If you’re feeling underqualified and incompetent today, I hope these tips help you realize that you’re doing better than you think you are.