IMPOSTOR SYNDROME AND 6 TIPS TO DEAL WITH IT
Ever got the feeling that you are a fraud? A phony? Not good enough for what you have worked for, not legit? That all what you doing was just pure luck or a coincident? And you deserve nothing of the praise or the things that came in return for a great job you did?
This affects more people than you know, it’s just that hardly anybody ever talks about it. Apparently high achiever, perfectionists, workaholics are hit more often. Also, it’s being said, that more women are suffering from it but truly it can hit anyone.
I felt lifted when I read it in Tina Fey’s book Bossypants and that she is feeling this way, when I read quotes of famous and highly successful people who are suffering from it. I was happy that I finally knew what it was called and thought, wow, even these amazing people who turn everything they touch to gold are struggling. It gave me a little piece of mind.
The impostor syndrome is connected many things like self-doubt, insecurities, feeling worthless, feeling not good enough or not enough at all. It starts with downplaying compliments or achievements. It can be constantly comparing yourself to others and other’s achievements which is highly unhealthy. It makes you feel like a fraud whose cover can be blown anytime having people around you find out that you are not as crazy good or perfect or simply, successful as they now think you are. Or having the feeling you just got lucky or you were at the right place at the right time and that’s all your career and success built on.
If you are suffering from impostor syndrome and feel like a fraud in certain situations it feels like all of your success or the positive things you accomplished or created are meaningless suddenly. And this is heartbreaking.
Seeking validation from work is no crime, it’s totally fine and to some of us, it’s very important. Getting evaluated by success and also caring deeply about your work or the outcome of your work is no necessarily a bad thing. If this validation gets shaken up, feelings get rocky. When the feelings of being fake or a fraud creep up on you (especially shortly after a wonderful success, a positive feedback or promotion), it’s hard to get out of this spiral and pick yourself up again.
So here are a few things, to get away from these feelings and help you dial down the impostor syndrome. In the end it’s all about believing yourself and in yourself. About trusting your accomplishments about accepting them, about celebrating them and yourself on so many levels.
1. Get a mentor
Talk to someone you can trust and feel like this person listens to you and gives good advice, understands your struggle and boosts your spirits. Someone who doesn’t judge you or brushes you off with a “Oh, it’s all in your head. Don’t worry.” It has to be someone you are not ashamed of talking about how you feel.
2. You did something right to get where you are
Yes, you did. Period. If you are having trouble remembering, write all your success (small or big, personal and career) on a piece of paper. Keep it in your desk and when the feeling hits you, pull it out and re-read as often as needed. Not to brag, but to remind yourself of what you really did.
3. You are you, don’t compare yourself
This is hard to many of us. But if you can (try), don’t look left or right all the time. Stay in your lane. Focus on yourself. This is not selfish, this is simply putting the concentration to the right place. Comparison leads to overthinking leads to unhappiness and misery and self-doubt, and this, we don’t want.
4. Being wrong doesn’t make you a fake
You can be wrong, you now? It’s okay not to know everything, you know? This is totally normal. No one knows what they are doing 100% all the time. It’s all about believing yourself and in yourself. Not just because you are successful or have realized a project and gotten positive reactions, it’s also about when times are not successful or outcomes are not great at all, to stick with yourself. Knowing that not everyone who is an expert knows everything 100% or gives always, always the perfect answer is vital to overcome or decrease impostor syndrome.
5. Fake it till you make it
This silly saying is true. You should never lie obviously. But “faking” can be a little helpful tool, whether it’s faking your self-confidence, dressing differently to feel better or boost your spirits, reading positive affirmation until you believe them, simply practicing a speech so often you memorize it for a meeting, so you come across content, professional and so on, etc. Why not?
6. Give your knowledge away
You can become a kind of mentor yourself, you know? Give a lecture, give a workshop or writing about your job on a blog or for yourself, or simply, explain your job and what you do daily to someone who is not in your field. This way you will realize how much you know about your field, your profession or the project you are working on.