How competent are you at your job? Perhaps you’ve been chosen to lead a team, or complete an important project, but feel undeserving of the responsibility. As it turns out, you are not the only one. It’s called imposter syndrome, and many experience it throughout their careers without realizing it. However, anybody can recognize issues with their own mentality and work to rise above it.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
According to Ashley Stahl’s article on Forbes, imposter syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy in which an individual may not believe they are capable of excelling at their profession, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. For those with imposter syndrome, they may even feel like a fraud that is unsuited to hold their job. According to the same article, these feelings affect a variety of people, from perfectionists to those raised poorly by their parents. It varies from individual to individual, and can range from infrequent doubt to a debilitating dread that seriously affects work. Reevaluating one’s mental state can go a long way toward defeating imposter syndrome and leading a more productive life at work.
What Can Be Done To Rise Above?
Self-examination: Acknowledging that you are experiencing doubt about your career is inevitably the first step to getting over it. Without acknowledging that there is actually an issue, the problem will continue to fester and grow, leading to even bigger issues down the line. By bringing imposter syndrome out in the open, it can begin to be resolved. One of the ways to do this is to identify the source of your doubt. If you have a new job or received a recent raise, it may actually cause you to have second thoughts about whether you deserve the accolades, perhaps thinking that somebody more deserving should have received them.
Restructure Your Thoughts: In order to move past your fears about competence, you have to change the way you think. One way to do this easily is by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). As described in Alice Boyes’ article in Psychology Today, CBT retrains the way someone thinks, helping to cut out the negative thought loops someone’s mind runs through. For example, instead of making negative predictions about failing, ask questions about the worst, or best, or most likely outcome of a given scenario. This can help stop negative, self-fulfilling predictions. You can reinforce pride in your achievements by listing the positive things you have accomplished and reminding yourself that your position is due to your own prowess.
Practice Makes Perfect: While practicing the two ideas above may seem like a chore at times, they can work wonderfully if done consistently. Often, negative self-talk and feeling like an imposter can lasted years, if not decades in a person’s life. Because of how deeply ingrained these thought-habits are, it takes time and practice to develop new patterns of thinking. By practicing every day, new patterns can eventually develop.
Imposter syndrome can be difficult to live with and debilitating at times. However, working to be more positive and recognize one’s achievements can help someone rise above imposter syndrome and live a more anxiety-free life.