You’re not sure how to start a project, so you put it off. Or, you’re afraid that an email doesn’t convey your message or level of competence so you delete it later. You compare yourself to your colleagues because you need to be the best, leading you to beat yourself down and dim your talent. If you’ve ever dealt with a situation like this or similar feelings, you may be in the same boat as up to 82% of working Americans.
Imposter Syndrome can be a huge career hurdle for many. Any individual, whether it be entry-level, professional-level, or students, can experience it. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you don’t “measure up” or deserve any praise that comes your way. This can also be described as “feeling like a fraud”. As mentioned, it is experienced by an array of individuals, but most common amongst high achieving workers.
While these are hard feelings to cope with and maybe more difficult for some to overcome than others, imposter syndrome can always be tackled!
It may be hard to recognize if you, or someone close to you, is suffering from Imposter Syndrome. It is always a good idea to be familiar with the symptoms so that anyone dealing with this type of dilemma can overcome it and move on to success without these feelings!
- Work Performance
Someone facing imposter syndrome may hold the fear that their employer or colleagues expect more from them than they can produce. This feeling of being unable to deliver is typically only inside one’s head and not realistic. It can lead to a person holding themselves back and avoid seeking achievements. Overall, Imposter syndrome negatively impacts a person’s work performance as the person is unmotivated and afraid to do work.
- Doubting Success
Another effect seen in those suffering from imposter syndrome is a tendency to deny or avoid high levels of success and praise. Sometimes, people may attribute their success to something besides themselves as a result of the feelings they have. Similarly, when things go wrong, those who feel fake and undeserving blame themselves for whatever happened.
Those dealing with imposter syndrome often compare themselves to their colleagues as they feel they are unworthy, incapable, or fraud in some cases. Imposter syndrome can cause people to believe that their work is so poor compared to others or like they will never be the best. This could also lead to a lack of motivation.
- Changes in Mental Health
While Imposter Syndrome is not classified as a mental illness and experts do not consider it one, the feelings it causes may contribute to anxiety, depression, frustration, lack of self-confidence, fear, or shame.
Types of Imposter Syndrome:
- The Expert
These types of people tend to not feel satisfied when finishing a task unless they believe that they have mastered everything about the subject. This is one example of how imposter syndrome affects individuals. The time spent searching for information can make it hard to complete tasks and projects as well as other negative impacts.
- The Perfectionist
When experiencing imposter syndrome, this type of person experiences high levels of anxiety, doubt, and worry, especially when they set unrealistic or extreme goals. This leads to a lack of achievement. A perfectionist will similarly focus on areas where they could have done better rather than celebrate any achievements they have.
- The Natural Genius
A “natural genius” will master many new skills quickly and easily. The way they experience imposter syndrome is when they cannot do something easily because they are ashamed something is too hard for them. This can be hard to accept for some and learning that everyone needs to struggle to achieve some goals may help.
- The Soloist
People who prefer working alone may fear that asking for help will reveal incompetence or incapability. These people typically turn down help and partnerships because they feel as though they need to prove their independence.
These are the types of people who may be viewed as “workaholics”. They often excel due to extreme effort and devotion. This will eventually lead to burnout, which in turn can affect physical and mental well-being and relationships with others.
How to Overcome It:
The most important factor in overcoming Imposter syndrome is talking about your feelings. Remember, up to 89% of working Americans deal with this! There are always ways to help and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted colleague, friend, or family member can help in gathering a more realistic outlook on life!
Being aware of the symptoms is another big factor in overcoming Imposter syndrome. Knowing the effects is key to recognize when yourself or someone close to you is struggling. Once recognized, the issue is one step closer to being resolved!
When overcoming Imposter syndrome it is important to always be challenging negative thoughts. Replace negative thoughts and feelings with the celebration of achievements or past successes! Or, keep a record of positive feedback and comments from clients, colleagues, managers, etc. This is a great way to gain some motivation and reassurance if you are battling negative feelings.
Many people experience symptoms of impostor syndrome at some time, you are not alone. It is important to remember that perceptions do not always reflect reality. Keep these tips for overcoming imposter syndrome in the back of your mind for those times you may struggle.
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