Battling Imposter Syndrome
Have you ever felt like you do not know what you are doing? Maybe you have felt like a fraud or a faker in your professional or personal life. You may feel like you’re not really an adult, and that someone at any moment will figure it out, and you’ll be shamed, or shunned, or you’ll lose everything. Or maybe your boss will figure out that despite your experience, education, and background, you are completely unqualified for your job. If you have ever felt like this, you are not alone.
You are not alone, even if you feel alone
This phenomenon is often called imposter syndrome in the media, and if you have experienced it, you are not alone. According to a 2019 study, “Prevalence, Predictors, and Treatment of Impostor Syndrome: a Systematic Review” by Dr. Dena M. Bravata, in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, up to 82% of people deal with impostor syndrome in their lives. These feelings of not having earned what they have achieved can seriously impact mental health and increase anxiety, depression, less risk-taking in jobs, and burnout.
Feeling like we are not good enough to do the job we are being paid can hinder our decision-making and limit our ability to take risks. Which can impact furthering our careers, and growth in our lives.
Feeling like you do not belong is not a modern phenomenon
Feeling like everyone else knows exactly what they are doing while you feel like you’re completely lost and alone, is not a good feeling. This feeling is also not a new problem either. The first imposter syndrome study conducted in the 1970s looked at high-achieving women, who had issues crediting themselves for their accomplishments.
It can be challenging to give ourselves credit where credit is due. It is very easy to dismiss your accomplishments as accomplishments of other people that you are simply benefiting from, while at the same time comparing yourself to others’ accomplishments.
Symptoms of impostor syndrome include:
- Downplaying accomplishments
- Holding yourself back from reaching attainable goals
- Feeling unworthy of attention, praise, or affection
- Feeling that overworking yourself is the only way to meet expectations
- Fear of being seen as a fraud or failure
- Dismissing all accomplishments or successes as luck, or because of other people
Asana, the mindfulness app, found out that “nearly two-thirds (62%) of knowledge workers worldwide reported experiencing imposter syndrome”. Asana also found out that “team members in more senior positions are actually more likely than average” to go through battling imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome can impact every aspect of our lives including
How to overcome impostor syndrome
Moving past impostor syndrome starts with allowing yourself to recognize your potential, and taking ownership of your achievements. Feelings of imposter syndrome will come and go through different phases of your life, but this does not mean that you need to live with it. Instead, recognizing imposter syndrome as it comes, and learning how to combat the negative feelings and emotions associated with it, will help you push through.
Firstly, focus on the facts
Work on identifying feelings and facts, and separating them. Just because you think or feel something, does not mean that it is true. Allow yourself to recognize these feelings. Ask yourself if these feelings are based on facts, or fears.
Secondly, fight your feelings of imposter syndrome with collaboration
Learning from other team members and working together can help you realize that you are on equal footing with your peers. Finding a mentor, and learning from someone who is more experienced is another way to use collaboration to both fight feelings of imposter syndrome, and expand your knowledge, understanding, and skill set.
Lastly, celebrate where you are
Recognize how far you have come to get to where you are now. You have already accomplished many of your past personal goals to get to your current starting point. Recognizing each win, no matter how small, is just as important as working towards bigger goals and aspirations.
Put your health first
To conclude, if you are experiencing feelings of imposter syndrome, or are struggling with intense feelings of anxiety, depression, or burnout, remember that your job is not more important than your health. We can help you in battling imposter syndrome.