You are a qualified, educated professional. You have experience. You are prepared….right?
So why are there times you still feel you should be a student in class? You feel like you still have so much to learn and somehow everyone knows more than you? How are others more prepared? How is it they have already “earned their stripes” while you’re still over here wondering what everyone else is talking about?!
You find yourself staying quiet in meetings and waiting for others to speak first. You worry about making decisions and find yourself running them by others before doing them. That great idea you have seems like one to keep quiet because you’ve convinced yourself, you’re not ready. You feel as though you don’t deserve to be where you are. The privilege of being at this point in your life, should be reserved for others, not you.
You suddenly feel like an imposter.
This is called imposter syndrome. Despite evidence that you have indeed earned your position, you feel as though somehow you don’t deserve it. Interestingly, if you question your current standing, this could be healthy awareness and insight. However, when this self-introspection becomes belittling, hurtful and unfair, something is wrong.
Believe it or not, there are many high achieving, very accomplished individuals who struggle with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome can be a humbling experience if it has limits and you have support. Without limits, it is stifling, pressuring and overbearing.
So, what do you do if imposter syndrome is knocking on your mind’s door?
First, identify it, call it out. I feel like an imposter. Be honest with your limitations but also recognize your strengths.
Second, find support. Who can you talk to about this? Find a colleague or mentor who has been where you are. Someone who will listen and guide and not judge you for your doubts or insecurities.
Third, find the exception. Make a list of times and ways you actually are/have been the most qualified person for this job. Toot your own horn. Remember your accomplishments, accolades and positive feedback and build from there.
Hang in there! Remember, imposter syndrome is not limited to only early on in one’s career. You may find this doubt pops up during various moments in your life, both personally and professionally. It doesn’t mean you’re not ready, it means it’s time to challenge yourself. Buck up buttercup.