How do we overcome Imposter Syndrome?

How do we overcome Imposter Syndrome?
In: General

I was thinking of writing about Imposter Syndrome for so long but I didn't because I thought someone might figure out I don't know what I am talking about.

This is so real, I'm not even kidding. The feeling of doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It's something many of us experience, especially when we're stepping out of our comfort zones or tackling new challenges. So, I decided to face this head-on and share some ways to deal with it. First, it's important to recognize when we're being too hard on ourselves. We often set unrealistically high standards and then beat ourselves up when we don't meet them. It's okay to not know everything – after all, we're all learning as we go.

Talking to others can also be a big help. You'll often find that many people feel the same way and have their own experiences with Imposter Syndrome. This can be a huge relief to know you're not alone in this.

What Exactly is Imposter Syndrome?

In plain terms, it's when you feel like you're not as competent as others perceive you to be. You might think you're not good enough, despite there being clear signs of your skills and successes. It's like having a little voice in your head that keeps saying you're just faking it and soon everyone will find out. Sounds familiar, right?

So, what causes this tricky feeling? It's often a mix of things. For starters, our own high expectations play a big part. We live in a world where we're constantly seeing the highlight reels of others' lives and accomplishments, especially on social media. It's easy to feel like we're not measuring up.

Then, there's the pressure of new challenges. When we step into new roles or take on tasks we're not familiar with, it's natural to feel a bit out of depth. But instead of seeing this as a normal part of learning, we might see it as a sign that we're not cut out for the task.

Lastly, our upbringing and experiences can contribute too. Sometimes, how we were praised or criticized in our early years can shape how we view our abilities now. If we were only celebrated for achievements and not for effort, we might end up feeling like we're never doing enough.

But here's the thing – feeling like an imposter is more common than you might think. It doesn't mean you're not skilled or capable. It just means you're human, and like all of us, you're still learning and growing.

My Story of Self-Doubt

I want to take you back a few years, to when I first stepped into a new role. It was a position I was excited about, but a few months in, doubts started creeping in. I couldn't shake off these nagging thoughts – "Am I really qualified for this role? Are they going to realize they made a mistake hiring me?" I remember seeing job listings similar to my role and thinking, "Are they looking to replace me?" It was a tough time, filled with self-doubt.

While I was busy doubting myself, my team actually thought the opposite. They kept praising me for my contributions and told me how valuable I was to the team. It took me a while to see the discrepancy between how I saw myself and how others perceived me.

Even now, with every new article I post on my blog, I battle similar fears. I hesitate to share my work on platforms like LinkedIn, worrying that someone might comment, "You don't know what you're talking about." It's a challenging feeling, constantly questioning your own expertise and worth.

But here's what these experiences have taught me, the fear and doubt that come with Imposter Syndrome don't always reflect reality. We can be our own harshest critics, often ignoring the positive feedback and validation we receive from others. Recognizing this gap between perception and reality is key. It’s a journey, and I’m learning every day to trust in my abilities and the value I bring, both in my professional role and through my blog.

Combat Imposter Syndrome

First off, it's really important to just accept that feeling like an imposter is a normal thing. We all go through it to varying extents. The key is to not ignore these feelings but instead to recognize them for what they are.

A great way to deal with these feelings is to talk about them. When you open up to friends or colleagues about feeling like an imposter, you often find out you're not the only one. It's pretty eye-opening to hear that others feel the same way, and it can make you feel a lot less alone in your experience.

Another helpful thing is to take a moment and think about all the things you've achieved. It doesn’t have to be big awards or major successes; even the small wins count. This can help remind you of your skills and strengths. Also, try to stop comparing yourself to others. It's a game you can't win. Everyone's life and career path is different, so it's not fair to compare your journey to someone else's. Focus on your own growth and progress.

Adopting a mindset where you see challenges as chances to learn rather than as tests of your abilities can be really helpful too. Remember, no one expects you to be perfect. Learning and improving is what matters. And if Imposter Syndrome starts to feel overwhelming, don't be shy about getting some extra support. This could be talking to a mentor, a coach, or even a professional if you need it. A little guidance can go a long way.

So, let's remind ourselves: it's okay to have moments of doubt. What matters is how we respond to those doubts: do we let them control our actions or do we take control and make a choice to not let doubt hold us back? We're all learning and growing, and that's something to embrace, not fear.

Closing Up

As we come to the end of this post, I hope my experiences with Imposter Syndrome have resonated with you. Remember, it's a journey and we're all in this together. It's okay to have doubts but don't let them overshadow your achievements and worth.

And hey, if you find yourself feeling the way I did, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm more than happy to have a chat over a virtual coffee 😊. Sometimes, just talking things through with someone who understands can make a world of difference. We can share our experiences, and our worries, and who knows – we might just find that in sharing, we empower each other to overcome those nagging doubts.

Written by
Suresh Vina
Tech enthusiast sharing Networking, Cloud & Automation insights. Join me in a welcoming space to learn & grow with simplicity and practicality.
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