Imposter Syndrome Definition: How To Use It To Your Advantage
Over the years, I have read articles that question and support the validity of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is characterized by the doubting of accomplishments and an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Experiencing doubt and fear rings true for those of us who find success in new industries or job markets. Many of us, if not all, struggle with imposter syndrome. Our titles and positions do not exempt us from this feeling; if anything it intensifies it. We wrestle with these feelings due to the self-doubt and fear that we harbor. We have to identify solutions to combat imposter syndrome and how to use it for our good.
Do You Struggle With Imposter Syndrome?
Some of us are not aware that we suffer from imposter syndrome. We have not placed a name to our feelings and actions yet. So let’s identify how imposter syndrome shows up in our lives. Imposter syndrome stems from feeling as if we are inadequate or unqualified to do certain work or activities. Fear arises because we think that our peers, classmates, or colleagues will share the same thoughts that we have about ourselves.
Perfectionism is another sign that you may struggle with imposter syndrome. Being a perfectionist will prevent you from achieving goals. Not achieving our goals leaves us feeling stuck and stagnant. As of now, there is not much evidence as to why we experience this syndrome. However, if we do not get a handle on imposter syndrome, then we will have feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Defeating Imposter Syndrome
One of the most helpful things I have come across is a tweet that said, “Let them tell you no. Don’t tell yourself no.” That may seem menial to some, but for me it meant everything. See, I had what you would call expert pattern. Expert pattern is the need to be an expert in a subject or field before pursuing opportunities.
There were plenty of writing opportunities I wanted to apply to, but I allowed fear to prevent me from following through. With my lack of a background in journalism, I felt inadequate and feared that I would not be chosen for the position. I chose not to allow fear to govern my actions anymore. So, I bossed up and started to apply to different writing opportunities.
I did experience rejection along the way, but I did not let that stop me from pursuing other positions. I could have let the rejection affirm my negative thoughts, but I chose to push past my fear, thoughts, and feelings. If I had done that, then I would not have been selected as a writing intern for Witted Roots.
Tips To Buffer The Negative Impacts
So what’s next? We identified imposter syndrome, and what it looks like for us, now it is time to explore different tools that will assist in overcoming it. Here are some methods to help you manage imposter syndrome:
- Mindfulness: this practice requires you to observe your thoughts and feelings in the present without judgment. The benefits of practicing mindfulness include decreased stress levels and protection against depression and anxiety.
- Do it anyway: I know that this is not a mental health practice, but why not use that fear as fuel and do it anyways. Whatever it is you want to do or are doing, do it with confidence. Imposter syndrome stops us from achieving certain things. However, I wonder what if you went after that thing and did an amazing job? When you do this, you are overcoming that imposter syndrome.
- Create an accomplishment board: Try creating an accomplishment board for yourself. You can revisit the board anytime you experience feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem. The board serves as a reminder of how great you are, and that you are capable of much more. You have to believe in yourself and your capabilities more.
- Vent to someone you trust: When imposter syndrome overwhelms you, try calling a friend or family member so you can express your feelings to them. Ensure that you are speaking to someone who can affirm you. You do not want to share that information with a negative or judgmental person because they may affirm your negative feelings. Trust me, that is the last thing you need.
You Are Right Where You Need To Be
We have to put ourselves at ease by knowing that we are not alone. There is someone else, such as a friend or co-worker who may share the same thoughts and feelings as you do. You deserve to be here. If you were asked to participate as a panelist, write an article, or be a speaker at a large event, then you have to know that you belong there.
It is not by luck or chance that you are there in that room or space. Also, do not allow the person who extended the invitation to you to believe in you more than you do. Keep pursuing opportunities that you are well equipped to perform. You have to know that you are great and own that.
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