Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

After Maya Angelou wrote several books and receiving accolades, she still had internal feelings that she did deserve all of her accomplishments. Can you believe MAYA ANGELOU thinking she was not deserving of all of her fantastic work? To be honest, I can. Because I have felt that same way. Hell. I feel like that still at times, but I have been learning to check myself. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling of not deserving something is a psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”

When I got my first full-time professional position, I felt like a full-time FRAUD. Though I was ready for this first step in my career, I often thought I was bound to fail or wasn’t good enough for my role. I would work harder and longer hours to prove to myself. I wanted to prove that I belonged at my job, and I earned it. However, I would continue to have a nagging feeling that my best wasn’t enough. I felt like I wasn’t even meant to have this position in the first place. 

I used to think that my lack of a Master’s Degree meant that I was not smart enough to produce great work. I felt like it revealed a level of unfitness and unprofessionalism on my end. It was a constant battlefield in my mind. I would hear my peers and colleagues congratulated me on a job well done, and I would downplay it in my mind!

This happens to so many people, but it is one of the hardest things to admit to yourself and others. Mindset is everything, and I knew it was time to get my mind right. It started with me being honest with myself. I had to be honest about what I was feeling and do the work to change my mindset by doing a few tasks. 

Here are a few tips to help you through Imposter Syndrome (especially in the workplace): 

  1. Read Your Resume. Take some time to read your most recent resume. You will be impressed by all you have already accomplished. Your resume does not only show an employer that you’re qualified for the job. It also proves to YOU that YOU are here for a reason. 
  2. Reflect. At times, we can be consumed by the day-to-day work that we do not sit and think about all the work we already achieved. Take a seat and start writing what you completed at work for the past couple of months, weeks, or even days. You will be surprised by all the things you have done. 
  3. Share. After reflecting, share it with someone who is already proud of you. This can be a partner, close friends, or family. Share your success; people will be proud of you and validate you in your role. While validation is not a need for everyone, it might be for others. 
  4. Self-Talk. Continue to affirm yourself. Try to talk yourself through the doubts in your mind. I often tell myself,” You got this, Rachel. You are capable.” This helps me change the negative thoughts in my mind. Tell yourself that you have everything you need to succeed! 
  5. Ask for Help. It’s okay not to know everything; that is the point of teamwork. It is okay to ask for help; you are not week if you ask someone for support. You never know when that person will also need your help. 

Remember, you are not alone in this. Many people are dealing with imposter syndrome but just have difficulty talking about it. Talk to friends about your feeling, and you’ll be surprised how much they can relate. Let’s share our stories of Imposter Syndrome in the comment section.

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