Have you ever felt like a total fake who somehow slipped through the cracks into your position and any minute you could be found out? I did. I remember telling a friend, right after I had accepted a new job, “I’m the biggest phony in this building and I have no idea why I thought I could do this.” You are not alone! I love podcasts and a new one totally resonated with me on How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome from the Jordan Harbinger Show. Be sure to check out the deep dive from this podcast, but here are some take-always that had me nodding along as I listened and might be helpful to you!
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is when you aren’t internalizing your achievements or accomplishments and feel out of place, or like an imposter, in a situation. You don’t feel like your accomplishments are a part of your identity, so there is a disconnect in your current position and where you think you should be or what you deserve.
There is also a difference between Imposter Syndrome and True Fraudulence. With Imposter Syndrome, you might feel like you don’t belong in a position, but you truly do because you have the skill set and requirements to perform that job. True Fraudulence is when you really don’t have the skill set currently, but you could get there by filling in the knowledge gap. So maybe you did somehow slip through the cracks and got promoted early to a position you weren’t ready for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take on the challenge and still be good at it.
Who suffers from Imposter Syndrome?
Most everyone at one time or another. This can affect both genders at every stage of life and professional levels. Olympic athletes, honored scholars, lawyers, doctors, blue collar workers, new parents….we have all most likely felt unqualified or undeserving at one time or another.
What can you do to overcome imposter syndrome?
1) If you feel like you’re an imposter because you feel unprepared in some way for this new position (whether this is factual or not) you can work harder and learn more. Put in the time and hard work required to get good at it. This will build your confidence by acquiring the tools you need to be successful in this new venture. Come in early, stay late and ask questions to gain the knowledge you need to succeed. This will hopefully give you that validation or approval you have been looking for, which may be internal or external from others.
2) Remove that charged feeling of ignorance by being upfront about what you don’t know, but how you will figure it out. When faced with using a new computer program, for example, let your boss know up front that you haven’t used this program before, but you pick up a few how-to books and found some online forums on how to use it, so you will figure it out. This sets expectations appropriately. You must embrace your competence to handle any fraudulence. You’re never going to know it all going into a new job, but you’ve figured out stuff before and you can do it again!
3) Commit to true authenticity. Check in with yourself to see if you are putting on a show for others or being venerable enough to truly be yourself. Be confident in your current abilities and remember all of the times in the past you were in a little over your head, but figured out how to get the job done. Our opinions of ourselves should always be more important than the opinions of others. Don’t give other’s that power over you.
Bottom line: We have all been in a position that felt like a random stroke of luck put us somewhere that we weren’t ready for or deserved, but I don’t believe in accidents. You are there for a reason. Even if you really did suck at it or ended up hating it, there’s a lesson you learned somewhere in that mess. Imposter Syndrome should be expected since this means your pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and you are growing. This is an opportunity to shine! So buckle up, do the work and see where this position takes you. You are supposed to be here and you deserve it.