Dealing with imposter syndrome

You may be skilled, experienced and capable, but you might still suffer with imposter syndrome. If you get an overwhelming feeling that you can’t do something, when in reality you know you can, then there are things you can do. 

What is impostor syndrome? 

Impostor syndrome is a psychological thought pattern. The individual suffering with it doubts their talents, skills or accomplishments. As a result, they have an internalised fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.

According to a review published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people experience these feelings at some point in their lives. It affects different kinds of people, from different walks of life.

Is it a female thing?

This isn’t something that only women experience, but it’s certainly a problem that many girls and women face. Valerie Young, an expert on imposter syndrome, wrote the book called The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women explored the concept

Young found that imposter syndrome was common amongst perfectionists and people that are experts in things. They want to make sure that everything is perfect and that they knew every single piece of information available.

People that are suffering with imposter syndrome push themselves to work harder than their co-workers, to prove they are not impostors. They also feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life and feel stressed when things go wrong. So if you suffer with imposter syndrome, you must make sure that you relax, unwind by doing something you enjoy and keep your energy levels up, otherwise you will burn out.

No simple answer

There isn’t a single way to stop imposter syndrome. However, you should acknowledge how you feel because all feelings are valid. Sharing your thoughts with people you trust may help too. By speaking to others you may get reassurance, or simply find out that somebody you care for suffers with it too. 

Start small

It could also be worth spending time to upskill if you’re concerned that your knowledge is lacking in a certain area, or simply asking for advice when you need it, or perhaps try and upskill in an area you’re not feeling confident in.

You could also take steps to grow something new. Maybe you could start a blog, or another side project.

Be more Trump

I have suffered with imposter syndrome myself. In fact, I have applied for jobs, being explicit about the things I can’t do. I try to sell myself as well, but I certainly don’t shy away from the can’ts. 

Donald Trump is not a man I like or respect. However, I think that he’s a great example of somebody who was underqualified and went for the job anyway. I get the impression that he’s always believed that he can lead, make cash fast and just generally do what he pleases. So in this one instance, ‘be more Trump’ and if you think you can do the job, try with confidence regardless.