Imposter syndrome can be defined as the feeling of inadequacy despite having success and feeling undeserving of the success or that the success was not earned.
Imposter syndrome can impact anyone at any time. Experts, perfectionists, soloists, natural geniuses, and people described as superwomen or supermen are more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome, according to a June 2018 Time article titled “Yes, Imposter Syndrome Is Real and Here’s How To Deal With It.”
There is no one reason that people suffer from this syndrome; however, it is likely to begin with feelings of inadequacy, especially when starting something new. When you start something new, you often feel as though you have no clue what you are doing while everyone else knows exactly what to do and how to do it. This feeling of inadequacy could go away after some time in your new adventure; however, if it doesn’t go away, take the time to think about how to make yourself feel good enough.
While imposter syndrome can be good for making you work hard to feel caught up to everyone else, it can be detrimental to your self-esteem and career if not properly dealt with. Struggling with feeling like an imposter can make you feel so insufficient you may not want to go for jobs or opportunities that you are qualified for, and this is the behavior that can severely hinder your career and self-esteem.
The American Psychological Association suggests looking at the evidence, celebrating your success, remembering a lot of people feel this way, learning the art of faking it until you make it, and staying humble as some of the ways you can get out of the imposter syndrome rut. Taking the time to look at everything you have been able to accomplish so far is crucial for getting rid of the inadequate feelings. The key is to make sure that you do not compare your successes to others who are in a similar field and understand that everyone’s path takes them a different way. It is essential for someone with imposter syndrome to write out a personal definition of success for you that is realistic.
Celebrating your success is something that people may think is obvious, but someone with imposter syndrome is likely not even to see their own success. Taking the time to celebrate even the little successes, like noticing that you didn’t stress about what to do at a meeting for example, deserves a little celebration. Another aspect of imposter syndrome is the isolating feeling that it’s only you who suffers from feeling lost and not good enough; however, everyone feels this way at some point. Even the most seasoned professionals can feel lost and inadequate; the key is to remember that it’s not only you. Talk to someone you trust and ask about a time they didn’t feel good enough.
The art of faking it until you make it is another key idea that people suffering from imposter syndrome should focus on. Living one day at a time allows you to focus on pretending that you have it all together and you know what you are doing. Pretending like you are qualified to be somewhere for long enough will make it so you actually believe it in the long run.
Oftentimes, the people who are not as humble as others say too much and then put pressure on themselves to be everything they say they are, which can lead to feelings of being a fake. The ability to be humble ties into faking it till you make it. Practice not overstating goals, and you will find that you don’t feel the pressure to be perfect.
In the end, getting over imposter syndrome is knowing and understanding that you are in the position you are in because you are qualified. Someone chose you to be there because they believe in you and your abilities. Otherwise, they would have hired or chosen someone else. You belong there just as much as someone else.