Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is the “belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.” (The Muse)

Nearly everyone has felt this at some stage in their professional and personal lives.

Irrespective of your ability or capability in what you are doing this can be a debilitating fear, something that stops you in your tracks and, at worst, stops you from functioning. If this is something you feel and identify in yourself that’s one thing, but what if it’s worse when others only highlight this? Micromanagement is not going to help, nor are instances where you are corrected or spoken over all the time by colleagues, be they senior or junior. Or even when a senior or manager takes work and projects from you with no explanation? Maybe it’s even worse if corrections and negative attitudes are directed at you from your juniors. It all adds up.

If anything, please remember this … it’s not you.

While individuals have a role to play in overcoming impostor feelings, it’s important to remember that systems play a significant part, too. “There are ways to build resilience to impostor syndrome, but there are also real changes that need to be made to address equity,” said Salazar-Nuñez. “The problem isn’t necessarily the person; it can also be the setting or culture.” – APA

This is new to me … that it can be the culture or system you’re a part of that can increase the feeling of imposter syndrome, that it’s not necessarily you that starts the feeling. Wow, that was powerful to hear!

The APA website has 7 strategies to help overcome imposter syndrome, which includes:

  • Learn the facts
  • Share your feelings
  • Celebrate your successes
  • Let go of perfectionism (!)
  • Cultivate self-compassion
  • Share your failures, and
  • Accept it

As you learn to work through impostor phenomenon, it will probably interfere less with your well-being. But taming impostor feelings doesn’t mean they’ll never show up again … it’s common for them to arise at any career shift. Remember that impostor feelings can arise at any career shift, especially if the people you are surrounded by have different achievements

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash