If you clicked on this article only to think “what the fuck is Impostor Syndrome?”, I’m gonna give you a quick runthrough, because chances are you have it.
No, really. 70% of the U.S. population has experienced it at some point in their career.
Impostor Syndrome is characterized as the feeling of being less talented than people think you are, that you don’t deserve what you’ve achieved so far, and that everyone is about to find out that you’re a fraud.
It can be so bad that you don’t even think you have it, because the whole concept is based on this lack of talent and achievement being real.
While self-doubt from time to time is completely normal, there’s a difference between a healthy sense of situational self-doubt and the permanent, crippling sense of being a fraud.
If you relate to these points and still think that you don’t have it, then you’re most likely suffering from impostor syndrome. You can’t impostor on impostor syndrome.
Unless you’re moonlighting as a prostitute, there is no logical reason for you to have a fear of people “finding out” that you’re not who they think you are.
Even Kate Winslett has admitted to suffering from Impostor Syndrome.
And Emma Watson, Sheryl Sandberg and Sonia Sotomayor. Even Maya Angelou.
What do these people have in common?
Well, first of all, they’re all women (obviously), and second of all they’re all insanely successful.
Research shows women are more likely to “suffer” from Impostor Syndrome, but if you ask me, most people do but the guys are just too scared to admit it.
We do have Tom Hanks and Neil Gaiman on the list though, so at least they are not pussying out on the topic.
Steps to overcoming Impostor Syndrome
#1 Get Over Yourself
You think you’re more important than you are, and I don’t mean in a conceited way.
But if you think that one mistake on your part is going to cause destruction for your company, then get over yourself. The company is fine, you’re not that important.
Feeling like a fraud is in relation to some perfection that never existed, setting go of your excess self-importance will go a long way in helping you feel less like a fake.
#2 Accept That You Had Some Role In Your Successes
Impostor Syndrome is based on an inability to internalize your successes.
You’ve been given an opportunity that others weren’t (umm… who hasn’t?), and because of that, your psychotic mind decides that anything you achieve after said opportunity is “undeserved”.
I just want to point out that you’ll be given a lot of opportunities that others won’t, that’s literally just how life works. You think everyone has access to school? You think everyone has access to food? You think everyone has a roof over their head?
Over 350 million children are currently living in war zones, so YEAH. You probably have a lot of advantages in life that others don’t.
It sucks, get over it.
At the end of the day, we all have opportunities thrown in our faces that others won’t get. But you’ve most likely done something to get where you are, so it’s time to internalize that shit.
#3 Focus On Value
By that, I mean providing value.
Stop thinking about how other people perceive you, and just focus on providing value. You literally can’t go wrong with this strategy.
Tell yourself that “Yeah, I’m probably completely incompetent for this position. But you know what, who the fuck cares? I won’t be in a few months, so if you guys don’t mind I’ll get back to work.”
#4 Stop Comparing Yourself
The worst part of Impostor Syndrome in the constant need to compare yourself to everyone around you in hopes of defining where you stand.
Although you should stop comparing yourself to others, there are definitely benefits to questioning your own value from time to time.
It helps you identify opportunities for growth in the future, as opposed to the arrogant, self-serving narcissists in your workplace who are convinced the world “owes them something” and that nothing is their fault.
#5 Expose Yourself
No, not like that.
Expose your talents and don’t be afraid of praise. Sure, it feels weird to be complemented, and there’s always the underlying pressure that now they’ll expect even more from you in the future, but who cares.
Expose yourself and take the goddamn compliments you get, because whether you like it or not, you earned it.
Take compliments without making excuses, but don’t depend on it. Enjoy positive feedback.
#6 Admit it
Admit that you’re being irrational and that it’s the Impostor Syndrome talking.
See, now it seems less scary.
#7 Being Wrong Doesn’t Make You A “Fake”
Everyone makes mistakes, so snap out of it.
One mistake doesn’t define you, just like one success doesn’t define you.
Stop being overly dramatic, you’re still great.
#8 Black and White Thinking Kills
You can be great yet not good enough. Life is hard, work is hard, business is hard. Just because you weren’t good enough doesn’t mean you’re a fraud.
Black and white thinking kills.
#9 If You Hold Back You’re Robbing The World
…of something great. And that’s you.
Ew, that was too cheesy.
#10 People regret what they didn’t do, not what they did
At least they took a risk. Or something.
Pretty sure this is what dying people are known for saying.
Idk, I first heard it from a drunk guy on the bus when I was twelve, but it made a lot of sense.
It’s better to go for what you want and fail, then to never try.
Embrace the failure and learn from it.
#11 Focus on what you can, not what you can’t
If you’re ever stuck in a situation where you don’t know how to do something, don’t bullshit people and pretend like you know what you’re doing because you’re scared of being exposed as a fraud.
Ask for help, learn how to do whatever it is, and if you need to,
distract them with what you can do for them instead.
#12 No one knows what they’re doing
Here’s a secret: No one really knows what they’re doing
A lot of people like to pretend they know everything, but these people are called assholes and they’re all lying.