Imagine for a moment that you have spent the first 17 years of your life reading books incessantly, building and creating things from scratch or recycled materials, and simply learning the basic steps of how to be a successful and humble human. The hustle is real – you’re making great, solid choices and are having the time of your life (as you should be). In reality, you are constantly reminded during those 17 years that you’re either too young to understand, too inexperienced to know how things work, too “hyper” or ADHD to fully understand your surroundings, or that you simply haven’t yet gained the skills necessary to succeed and/or be really good at something.
Add another 3-4 years… Started a new job or a new role at work, and you just don’t feel successful? Leading a large project or program, and you’re overwhelmed as you don’t feel you are fully prepared to lead the team to success? You have lead teams of 30 (campus activities board) and 40 (Tech Services/Computer lab) college students before, but somehow this feels different and you feel overwhelmed, unqualified, undeserving, and start to question yourself and your abilities.
Welcome to your first real-life experience with Imposter Syndrome. You are not alone, but, you are in control.
Now that we have identified the Imposter Syndrome, what can we can potentially do to combat and manage these feelings and situations?
- Write down a list of three things that appear to be shaking your confidence
- Stop underselling yourself – you are at this point in your life/career for a GOOD reason, so be assertive!
- On a similar note, write down a list of three things that identify your strengths
- When your confidence starts to unravel, remind yourself of these simple strengths to get you quickly back into gear.
- Remind yourself of all your achievements regularly
- Keeping a folder of “high fives” or keeping my LinkedIn profile up-to-date with training and certifications keeps my mind in check. Use sticky notes with brief reminders if you have to. This may do wonders for you as well!
- Remember that those mentors who have supported (or still support) you see your strengths and potential
- Those who have hired you or have promoted you in the past were not only super smart, but they knew you would rise to the occasion and use your “superpowers” for good!
- Mentor others and take risks
- There’s no better way of combatting your Imposter Syndrome than to show and share your expertise with others. I have been managing Imposter Syndrome for years and have finally taken the risk/plunge to not only blog, but also engage in public speaking (credit here is due to the incredibly inspiring and demanding Dona Sarkar, who not only encourages us all to #DoTheThing, but also realize how much you DO know, while learning new skills in the process).
- Write down a personal mantra
- No, seriously. DO IT NOW. Then remind yourself daily of this mantra, and never let yourself down!
You are not a fraud. You are not just lucky. You have stories and experience to share, and realize that in doing so, you are totally doing something RIGHT. Continue to look forward from this point on, and embrace everything that YOU deserve!