For the longest time, I didn’t know that it had a specific term attached to it: Impostor Syndrome. But I certainly knew that there was something more to it. If you find it difficult to appreciate your achievements no matter how minute. If you consistently find it difficult to accept praise or believe that you are good enough.
If you find it difficult to internalize that you are good enough or fail to appreciate your effort, but rather choose to measure your success with that of others or compare your ‘success’ to that of another, then it could be that you are suffering from Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor Syndrome, (also known as impostor phenomenon, or fraud syndrome, or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.
Sometimes it can become difficult to accept that you are good enough for yourself and that it takes tiny drops of water to make an ocean. You’d also forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day and feel that in less than a few months of working on several goals, you should have mastered the art and become an expert.
Many of us ‘young workers’ have a little bit of self-doubt to an extent and while like me, it may not be out of hand, if we fail to take notice of how much we have achieved, it could get out of control. So, it’s of importance that we stop for a second, and retrace our steps in order to ensure that we don’t get to a point where we suffer from Impostor Syndrome.
Most individuals who may be suffering from this anxiety tend to:
- worry that people will find out that they are not as smart and capable as others think they are
- credit their accomplishments to being “no big deal” or “a fluke”
- avoid taking on challenges because of constant self-doubt
- hate making mistakes
- need to do things perfectly
- feel defeated by any kind of criticism, viewing it as proof of incompetence
- believe that others are more competent, smarter and more capable
- live in constant fear of being found out
No doubt, if you are someone that wants to make an impact at your workplace, you most likely have encountered one or more of these behaviors listed above. I bet you want to ask me: “Zinny, how can all this be so true?!”
Hold on a bit.
I think the most important thing to take note of is the thin difference between wanting to be so right, and taking a break to really let things go, take things slowly, and absorb more important things in life.
From research, it appears that very successful people seem to be suffering from this anxiety and feel that they are a fraud and will soon be noticed as being fake. If for anything, take it that you are someone who is or will be successful, and to move on in your path of success you have to work against this aspect of feeling like a fraudster.
Are you game?!
I will take it in the affirmative and now share some ways with which you can manage this anxiety and appreciate your success at work, no matter how little you think it is. Because, honestly speaking, you are a star!
The fact that you’ve taken the time to read this post shows how awesome you are, because you’ve taken time out to be a better version of your already great self.
Take Note of Your Feelings
It’s important to realize how you feel after every praise you receive or an accomplishment. Think of what will be an accomplishment to someone else at work.
Like I stated earlier, the fact that you’ve chosen to read this post, already shows how much you are willing to improve and I hope you find reading this post really helpful.
Accept that you are a Novice and Take Advantage of it
If you are relatively new at your job or in your field, it’s expected that you can’t possibly know it all. Even those who have spent a number of years in a career still get puzzled at some things and seek new ways to remedy any issue they might encounter. How much more you?
Take advantage of this opportunity, learn more, ask more questions and be willing to work your craft to hone your skills. When you are new to a career or job, it’s an opportunity to practice in ways that are unconventional. You will be seen as someone that thinks differently and you can bring changes to your organization.
Accept That You’ve Played a Role in Your Success
It’s important for you to accept that you’ve come a long way in fulfilling tasks. It’s of importance to internalize your achievements. If you feel that you’ve been able to do something simply because of an opportunity that was given to you, you should understand that you’ve been able to be successful because you capitalized on that opportunity.
So many other people could have had this same opportunity and failed to put it to best use. It’s worth celebrating and appreciating.
Don’t Concern Yourself with what Anyone thinks, Genuinely Seek out to Create Value
I believe the sub-heading has summed it all up! I am of the notion that seeking to create value is much more important than comparing your work with that of another. In this modern world, we can be so quick to want to make comparisons which turn out to be the thief of joy.
It can be quite hard to want to do something without taking notice of what your colleague has done. However, if you constantly notice that this makes you feel low, or that it constantly deprives you of your mental ability to see the good job you’ve done so far, then it’s worth taking some time to really analyze the situation.
Ask yourself if you are creating value in your job, career or even every other aspect of your life. If you have the slightest bit of affirmation, work with that and continue to help and create value for others.
Take some alone time to think of better ways to create value and don’t concern yourself with what any other person thinks. In summary, focus on what you are learning to do, or doing and not necessarily how you are performing.
Avoid Taking External Validation to Heart
No doubt, when we are praised, we are happy, thrilled, filled with excitement and if you are a person with an ego, oh my! Well, at least I want to think that some people feel this way. On the reverse, if you are criticized, it could be hard, difficult, and self-doubt could creep in.
External validation has a way of meddling with your emotions. I’ve read a lot of articles that advise that one way to handle Impostor Syndrome is to keep a list of good stuff/ praise most people say about you.
But I’ll tell you why I’m not in tune with this advise. Because what if you receive a negative feedback? Will you be able to handle such criticism? Constructive or not. Let’s not forget that everyone has a certain threshold they can withstand. And if you’re still trying to combat Impostor Syndrome, then I don’t think it’s worth taking note of any type of external validation, whether it’s positive or not.
That’s my theory.
I recall when I had someone tell me that my writing was terrible. I felt extremely miserable and considered quitting my blogging ‘adventure’. It took a lot of sheer determination to keep writing, I had to do more research on my writing style and what I wanted out of it, practice more, and even pray to continue writing.
I was willing to improve my writing and even though I took that criticism to heart, it went a long way in helping me improve. I had to create a distinction between how I’d like to write on my blog and professionally. Even if someone else is of the same opinion today, I could care less because the most important thing to me is that I’m able to communicate and share ideas with my audience.
However, this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t take the observation into consideration and work towards further improvement. Learning is a continuous process in life.
So if possible, don’t even take any form of validation to heart. Take note of what is being said, work on getting better and move forward. All the same, don’t forget the nice things people have said about you though hahaha, it sure reminds you of how far you’ve come!
“If you don’t live by the praise of men you won’t die by their criticism.”
― Bill Johnson
Talk to Someone you Feel Comfortable With
Many times, you can’t do it all on our own and even if you can, you want someone to remind you of this fact. If you feel you are a fraud, speak to someone about it and you’ll be amazed at how this person is learning to handle his/ her business as well.
Don’t hold back, because your value is needed. Keep trying to be your better version and try to avoid any form of self-doubt.
I honestly hope that you enjoyed reading this post and if you need any more clarification, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Send me an email right away: [email protected].
Have you had to deal with any form of impostor syndrome? Please share how you’ve been able to handle this feeling in the comment section below. I appreciate it when you leave feedback, so leave a comment behind!
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