What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever started a new position and immediately told yourself, “I don’t belong here.” Maybe you feel like a fake. Maybe you feel like you got that promotion by luck. Maybe you’ve started a whole new career and you fear everyone will realize you simply don’t belong.
Wow. That’s really beating yourself up!
Imposter Syndrome can be a collection of thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, despite your efforts and successes. It can bring an overwhelming sense of self-doubt and a feeling of being a fraud. You could be the best in your field, yet, you still can feel these darkened emotions. Imposter Syndrome is especially present when someone starts a new career, changes jobs or receives a promotion. You could be feeling it now!
You aren’t alone. According to a research paper from the Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70% of the U.S. population has experienced Imposter Syndrome. Sometimes, misery loves company.
So, how do we deal with Imposter Syndrome? How can we squash these emotions before they eat us up?
Recognize The Signs Of Imposter Syndrome and Destroy Them With Your Voice
Experiencing Imposter Syndrome can bring on an internal voice with phrases like, “I feel like a fake”, “I must not fail”, “I’m only lucky that I got here” and “my success isn’t a big deal”. Other negative phrases can spiral your emotions down and disempower you quickly.
When you begin to doubt yourself, it’s important to consciously acknowledge them. Once you’ve recognized your self doubt, verbally remind yourself of your past successes. Say it out loud. Create an incantation that you can repeat to yourself to empower yourself. Need a hand? Try this incantation:
“I am good enough. I’ve gotten here because I’ve succeeded in the past. I am proving myself in my daily actions and there is NO DOUBT I will succeed now and in the future.”
Don’t just think it. Say it. Using your voice will not only have you utilize different portions of your brain, you’ll also hear your voice and re-affirm these thoughts. Repeat it often until it becomes part of your identity.
Find Mentors In Your New Peers
If you’re starting work with a new team, it’s very likely that at least one member has experienced Imposter Syndrome. Speak with others and be open with your thoughts and emotions. Some organizations have individuals that act as mentors to new hires. Leverage their experience. Sometimes making a friend is all that is needed.
Humans have an instinctive need to share what they know. We write, speak and sing what we feel and have experienced. Don’t fear asking someone to share what they know. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they jump at the opportunity! Phrase your question in a way that uplifts the person. Perhaps start with:
“Wow, this is all very new to me and there’s a lot to digest. You seem pretty knowledgeable about everything here. Have any suggestions on how to get more comfortable?“
Be As Visible As Possible
Imposter Syndrome lurks in the shadows. You don’t. When working with a new group of people, be constantly present. If there’s communicative tools such as Slack, Email and Google Meets, always be present. If an email thread comes across your inbox, train yourself to reply. Provide positive feedback. Be part of the conversation. By constantly pushing yourself into the light, you’ll recognize that people see you for the amazing person that you are.
Use The 3 Questions Rule
This is a favorite of mine. Anytime I am mentoring someone new to an organization, I encourage them to always ask at least three questions in any meeting they are involved in. It’s very easy to hide on the corner chair and not speak up. Fight the urge! During the meeting, identify opportunities to ask questions that help drive the meeting to more detail. Maybe there’s a process you are unfamiliar with. Maybe someone voiced an assumption that needs clarification. These questions will not only inform you but will also show others that you are engaged and are becoming valuable with all the knowledge you are soaking up.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Failure is only true if you refuse to learn a lesson from it. Find the lesson and use the knowledge in the future. Everyone fails. Sometimes failure is not your fault but something broken in a process. When you fail, offer up suggestions on how you and others can avoid a similar failure in the future.
Be Kind To Yourself
Your physical health plays an important part of your emotional state. Ensure you are eating properly and getting plenty of rest. Get a decent amount of exercise. I can’t say this enough. Treat your body like the luxury car that it is. Not like a rental. Remember, put good stuff into your body, you’ll get great output.
Visualize Your Ideal Outcome
It’s always important to keep your eye on the prize. Every morning, take a moment to close your eyes and visualize in your mind all your past and future successes. See the future as you crush all your obstacles and become the best performer in your team. See yourself years into the future and define what true happiness is for you. Recognize that you have already achieved it and you’re just walking the path now. Make it crystal clear in your mind. By visualizing it, you’re simply wiring your brain into knowing it’s already happened. You just need to walk there.
Need More Help? Find A Coach
A life coach can help you identify more strategies that are more personalized to your personality. A coach is there to help you find the fastest way to improve your position in your new career and help accelerate your growth. If you are starting a new journey and struggling with imposter syndrome, book a free conversation with me so we can talk about your new opportunity and how you can best succeed.