If I play my cards right, I can utilize my agreeable personality, corporate-approved humor, and occasional valuable contribution in Zoom calls to make sure no one sees that I don’t know what I’m doing!! Does that pressure feel familiar? Apparently, many of us can relate to this experience of feeling like a (lowkey) fraud, especially those of us who are women or belong to a minority group. As you likely already know, the official term for this looming feeling of inadequacy is Imposter Syndrome. The funny thing is those who tend to be most affected by imposter syndrome are the high achievers (RIP to those in the medical field)... the very people who really don’t need to be overthinking their worth within the workplace. High achievers feel a lot of pressure to maintain this standard of excellence, which can easily lead to not feeling good enough. Here are a few tangible ways to break free of the imposter monster:
Write Out All Anti-Imposter Evidence – Identify the belief that’s making you feel like you aren’t good enough. Do you think you don’t deserve to be where you are? Do you think that you aren’t smart, skillful, or special enough? Whatever it is, write it down. Then cross it off! Underneath, create an ongoing list of evidence that disproves it. Put your accomplishments (even if they seem small), compliments/positive feedback you have received from others, and any other thoughts of recognition you can think of.
OWN Your Evidence – It’s common for those struggling with imposter syndrome to discount their personal achievements by attributing them to external factors (I.e., luck or the contribution of others). It’s valid to take pride in and acknowledge the level of effort, skills, and perseverance that you have contributed to getting to where you are today.
Connect to Your Values – Sometimes the experience of not feeling you belong in a certain environment may be a result of feeling disconnected from your purpose of being there. Take a moment to check in with what’s most important to you. By aligning the things that you do with what truly matters to you, you’re more likely to gain a greater sense of fulfillment and authenticity.
View Mistakes/Setbacks as Endurance Building – Have you ever done the same workout over and over again? The first time you do it, you’ll likely struggle a bit. But over time, the workout becomes easier because your muscles get stronger. This can be used as a metaphor for challenges you face that make you doubt yourself. Struggling with something doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it means you’re growing. The more resilient you become, the more capable you become at handling curveballs, thus building confidence in your ability.
Check on Your Expectations – Speaking of mistakes and setbacks, are you expecting yourself to not run into those? Check in with yourself to see if you’re having any unrealistic expectations. Remember that you are a human being. Celebrate progress, not perfection. (P.S. Stop comparing your successes to others, we never see other peoples’ full stories. Failures usually don’t make for a cute Instagram post).
Remember that just because you don't feel good enough, doesn’t mean that it’s true. Your true self is not someone you need to hide. The fact that you read this article shows how committed you are to your own growth, and that’s something that only an awesome person would be into!