Have you ever experienced feelings of being a fraud?
Like the work you produce or the achievements you have are just a stroke of luck?
Like you are just waiting for people to realize you aren't as talented as you claim to be?
This is imposter syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome was first diagnosed in 1978 and was originally attributed to women in the workplace. Since that time research has shown that imposter syndrome is felt by all ages, all genders, and in all occupations. We are all in this one together!
So what is Imposter Syndrome?
Dr. Valerie Young, a leading expert on Imposter Syndrome, defines Imposter Syndrome as "the feeling of being inadequate at your job or that you’ll be ‘found out’ for not being good enough despite your skills and successes."
Why does this matter?
Imposter Syndrome has the ability to hamper your success in the workplace. If you question your work ethic, your achievements, or your level of expertise in your workplace you are likely leaving money and opportunity on the table.
What does Imposter Syndrome look like?
Do you feel like your success in your career is just "good luck"?
Do you question sharing your knowledge with others because you know there are still things out there that you don't know about the subject?
Do you feel like you have tricked others into thinking you are successful?
Do you find yourself in a constant state of chasing the next challenge to prove that you are good at your job?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be facing imposter syndrome.
What can I do to overcome it?
Here is the bad news, Imposter Syndrome is not something you can overcome and never experience again. It is something that you will likely face your whole life, especially if you are a high performer or high achiever.
However, it can be managed with a few simple techniques!
Know You Aren't Alone
So many people experience imposter syndrome and lead successful careers!
Sheryl Sandberg, Serena Williams, Tina Fey, Maya Angelou, Howard Schultz, Sonia Sotomayor, and Tom Hanks - just to name a few! You are in good company.
Name It When You See It
When you hear the words - "I don't deserve", "It was just luck", or "It's only a matter of time until they realize" - you know Imposter Syndrome has arrived. Acknowledging what you are feeling is the first step in taking the power away.
Keep Reminders Of Your Success
I use a cork board in my office that includes personal thank you cards from clients, pictures of past accomplishments, and reminders of my educational achievements.
Create a folder in your email, a box in your desk, or a notebook of accomplishments!
Double Check Your Doubts
Find a trusted friend, mentor, or coach to help you navigate moments of self-doubt. It's ok to be unsure about your talents, but invite others in to make sure your doubts are founded. Having a trusted person to remind you of your worth will ensure you don't leave opportunity on the table!
If you feel like Imposter Syndrome is preventing you from being the best version of yourself, please reach out! I would love to help you realize all the value you bring to your career field.