Written By Andrew Slade
How should you feel at the height of your career? Confident, proud, and empowered? Believe it or not, 70-percent of people actually say that they feel like they are not qualified to be in their current roles and are afraid of eventually being exposed as professionally fraudulent. And this fear is not achievement-specific. Actresses Tina Fey and Renee Zellweger, and even Nobel laureate Maya Angelou, have all spoken out about their experiences with feelings of self-fraudulence. So if you’re one of these individuals, you’re in good company.
Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. And Imposter Syndrome does not equate to low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, high achieving, highly successful people often suffer from Imposter Syndrome. So here are 3 things you can do to combat these feelings, should they emerge.
Keep Track of Your Achievements. It might seem all too self-absorbing, but keep a journal of your tangible achievements in the workplace. Note the work that was required to accomplish each achievement; even tally off your accomplishments if you have to. Show yourself that your achievements are not the product of luck or chance. As you do so, start listing some of your less tangible achievements as well. These can include personal achievements outside of the workplace, relationships with colleagues, things you did to accelerate a co-worker’s project or career, etc.
Be Kind to Yourself. Imposters often feel a huge pressure to “not fail” and not be “found out,” but you are human and there will be times where you do fail. So rather than harking on self-confidence to combat these feelings, try self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness allows for mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned.
Use it to your advantage. It’s probably not a coincidence that many high achieving individuals suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Many researchers attribute Imposter Syndrome to perfectionism; and without this need for perfection, many successful individuals would not have reached such a height in their professional career. So when encountering feelings of anxiety driven by Imposter Syndrome, channel the anxiety to focus on the quality of your work and the things you can actually change, as opposed to focusing on yourself and things you cannot immediately affect.
Moral of the story, you’re not alone! And rather than letting self-doubt hold you back, switch your mentality, use it to your advantage, and propel yourself to even greater heights.