Imposter Syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon) is defined as the feelings of inadequacy despite evident success.
Imposter syndrome usually is seen in the work place. It sneaks up in the form of “I shouldn’t be here” thoughts and the like. It can affect both men and women, and it’s seriously a sucky feeling.
How do you know if you’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome? Check all that apply to you, and tally up the count:
- You think your success is just because you’re lucky
- You’re constantly afraid that you could be fired any day for no particular reason
- You have a backup plan in case you actually do get fired
- You’re worried your co-workers will discover that you actually know nothing
- You’re sure that everyone else in your office is smarter than you
- You don’t tell anyone if you’re up for a promotion unless you actually get it
Count how many symptoms you nodded your head yes to. If you got one or more, you probably could use the following 5 tips to get away from your thoughts of self-doubt, and start realizing how awesome you are.
Keep “only,” “merely,” and “barely” out of your vocabulary when discussing your success (and any other diminutive terms).
Take charge of your vocabulary, and you’ll be surprised to realize just how much it does affect you.
I got the promotion yesterday! I was up against 5 other employees and they gave it to me!
I got the promotion yesterday, but I was only up against 5 other co-workers so it wasn’t a big deal.
Which version of news do you think shows a sense of pride versus a sense of luck? You may think you’re being humble, but showing excitement for your success is something you’re definitely allowed to do. You work hard, so act like it.
Understand that you don’t need to be a master in your field right now
Mastery comes with years and years of studying or practicing. If you’re barely starting out at a new job or have just received a promotion, it’s ok that you don’t know every single aspect of your job.
Guess what? Even your boss is still learning things. That’s just the way careers work. Unless you have 30+ years under your belt at one single task, don’t ever sweat not knowing everything.
Accept positive feedback
There’s a big difference between humility and self-doubt, and people can sense it. If someone offers you praise, accept it sincerely. Rejecting positive feedback only tells the person offering it that you don’t respect their judgment.
Keep a “Feel Good Folder”
Open a word doc and write down times that you succeeded at work, as well as the praises people have given you.
When you start to feel like you don’t belong at your position, open up your Feel good Folder and reread all of the positive past experiences you’ve had. This is a great insta-pick-me-up for those really trying days.
Understand that perfection is impossible
There’s no one at your office that is doing a perfect job. There’s no one who knows absolutely everything.
Once you realize that imperfection is never going to be attainable by anyone, you’ll find yourself cutting yourself some slack. Everyone is just doing the best they can, hoping no one else notices that they make little mistakes along the way.
How do you deal with imposter syndrome?
What advice would you give to a fellow co-worker dealing with it?
Share your answer with other social men in a comment below.