Feb 17, 2016

Five Ways to Get Over Imposter Syndrome

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I am a fraud, and I shouldn’t be here….

 
Has this thought ever run through your head? Have you ever felt like you don’t belong among your clever, intelligent peers? If yes, it could be your Imposter Syndrome talking.

 
Imposter Syndrome is when you feel you don’t deserve all the good things in your life. This occurs typically in a work environment. According to statistics, it is more frequent in women than in men; especially if they’re working in a male-dominated work setting. So, if you’re a woman in, say the IT field, you’re more likely to feel like a fraud than your male counterparts.
 

Who Experiences Imposter Syndrome?.

It’s not just us common folk who face this problem, though. Famous people like Don Cheadle, Sheryl Sandberg and Emma Watson have felt like imposters, despite their talent in their respective fields. Here’s what they all felt:

 

“All I can see is everything I’m doing wrong that is a sham and a fraud.”
– Don Cheadle
 

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me…”
– Kate Winslet
 

“I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.”
– John Steinbeck
.

 

You’re probably wondering why they would feel this way, when they’re so talented and famous. It’s because Imposter Syndrome is very common, and not restricted to a certain field. Research says that over 70 percent of the population has experienced Impostor Syndrome. How do you get over this though?

 

Five Ways to Get Rid of Imposter Syndrome.

While Imposter Syndrome attacks the unwitting and tends to unsettle people, it can be dealt with. Books and blog posts have been written about it, and seemingly, there is no dearth of research done on it. But, here is our two-cents on it.
 

1. Know that you had a good hand in your own success..

You can get only so far with luck. And people wouldn’t be giving you work if you truly didn’t know your stuff. In other words, your own skills, actions and decisions have led you to your current successful place.

 

2. Say it our out loud. Get it out of your system..

Have a best friend? Sit with them and tell them, out loud, that you feel like a fake. Get it out of your system. Given your success, your friend or friends are likely to try to convince otherwise. Listen to them. Accept their words.

 

3. Ever heard of ‘Fake it ‘til you make it?’.

Faking it can turn out to be quite the boon, if you let it. Faking confidence in an interview can get you that job. Faking a smile makes your brain release endorphins, turning your smile into a real one. So. Faking it isn’t bad at all.

 

4. Don’t compare yourself to another person..

We all do this. Comparing oneself to another supposedly more intelligent, beautiful, confident, hard-working person. This can be a strong motivation for you to do better, to be better, and to work harder. But, when it starts getting you down, and doesn’t boost your productivity at all, stop with the comparisons.

 

5. Don’t focus on being perfect. Focus on being valuable..

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t need that perfect life. It may not even make you happy if and when you do get it. Being valuable, on the other hand, can be very satisfying. What value are you bringing to your employers or clients or customers? How are they benefitting from your skills? Do you have written compliments or appraisals of your work? Read them, revel in them and accept that its all you.

 
Now that you’ve read through this post- probably- how about a little challenge? What’s the one thing you procrastinate doing just because you think you won’t be good at it, or because you think you’re not good enough to try it?
 

Be brave, and leave it in the comments. We’ve all been through this at some point.

 

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