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Why is the conversation around Imposter Syndrome so important?


Have you ever felt like the work you do does not deserve any appreciation? At times felt like your work is not original and that your boss or colleagues are going to figure it out? Other times, you thought about how luck played out in your favor and not your skillset?


You aren’t alone and the symptoms you’re experiencing is of a phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome. About 70% of people in the working population experience this syndrome at least once in their career. 


One of the main barriers stopping many talented people out there from reaching their full potential is not the lack of talent or skill set. It’s rather their lack of confidence and its cousin, imposter syndrome. Despite the accomplishments, you feel incapable to internalize your success. 


In very rare cases, imposter syndrome can push them beyond their limits and make them strive to achieve beyond their capabilities. But, for many, it leads to severe self-doubt and burnout early in their career further demotivating them to decide on the extreme. 


How to identify imposter syndrome: 


To begin with, ask yourself: 

  • Do you take constructive criticism to heart and dwell over your mistakes?
  • Do you feel like everything you’ve achieved is out of mere luck?
  • Do you brood over minor flaws at work?
  • Do you feel like you may not be qualified in spite of being an expert in your field?


If you can relate to any of the above then its affirmative. 


How to overcome imposter syndrome: 

It’s important to be aware and take necessary steps to counter the imposter syndrome so that it doesn’t affect your personal and professional life negatively in the long run. 

Start by dentifying where your self-doubt stems from and how you can further deal with it. Set the expectations and priorities straight and make it a point to never fall into the trap of expectations stemming from family or peer comparison.  

5 ways you can counteract imposter syndrome

  1. Acknowledge and Admit

    Instead of convincing yourself that you need to have all the answers, allow yourself to accept that you may not have the solution to every problem that exists. This will help you normalize the fact that everything you do is not out of mere luck but merely out of your skills and hard work.  

    An exercise that comes along with several benefits is journaling. Whenever you experience any feelings of discomfort, put them down in your journal. Then, try to restructure your thought process by countering every negative thought with a positive one within reason. 

  2. Allow yourself to work by setting boundaries

    For the majority of people experiencing imposter syndrome, it’s about being a perfectionist and proving their worth by overworking beyond their humane capabilities. It’s appreciated to produce great quality of work, but no team thrives when their members burn out. Most effective managers and leaders encourage their team to tend to their well-being apart from being extremely performance-driven. 

    Settling into an all-work-and-no-play paradigm could result in lesser efficiency at the workplace and ultimately lead to burnout. One way to start with this would be to not arrange back-to-back meetings and take breaks to unwind as and when needed. When you acknowledge other aspects of your life apart from your work-life, you tend to slide out of feeling like an imposter.

  3. Understand the process and don’t jump to conclusion

    Instead of focusing on the result produced by all of your co-workers, reinforce the process they went through to achieve the result. This will help you to understand that the result is merely a byproduct of incremental progress and can help keep imposter syndrome from creeping in. Appreciating the thought process would help in understanding that the result they arrived at is more organic. 


  4. Ask for feedback

    Gaining feedback can help you understand what is being expected of you. This can help you avoid unnecessary self-doubt. The executive-in-residence at the Center for creative leadership, Susan Tardanico, said that “It takes emotional honesty, introspection, and feedback from others to achieve the self-awareness and self-acceptance needed to combat imposter syndrome.” 

    The more feedback you encourage, the more opportunities you identify for development. This further helps you climb the ladder of competence consciously without spiraling into considering yourself an imposter. 


  5. Own your wins

    More often than not, people with imposter syndrome find it extremely difficult to accept compliments. When everything goes well, they attribute their success to external factors like their team, family, or support system. However, when things don’t go as planned, they are the first to take the blame.  

    So, actively try to develop an internal locus of control as it can help you be more self-appreciating and accepting of your success. Once you begin to believe that your success is a result of your own actions, decisions, and choices it’ll help in keeping track of the positive feedback and practice accepting them. Meanwhile, also write down your negative or self-harming thoughts and reason with yourself why they may not be true. 


To overcome the syndrome, you need to break the pattern of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. It’s also recommended that you accept not disregard any of the feelings. So the next time you receive a compliment, draw ownership from it and take ownership of your success. With some effort, it’s definitely possible to stop imposter syndrome from overshadowing your potential and self-confidence. 


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