You consider, e.g., to go for that next level in your career.
And while one part of you thinks that you could do a better job than your current manager, another part tells you that
you need another five years of experience in your current role, need to read 50 more books, get at least three more certifications.
And then, possibly, you would be qualified enough to do whatever it is you would like to do.
Or, people admire you for how far you’ve come, how well you did on a particular project or your specific skills, and you just shrug it off.
“Doesn’t everyone have these skills?” you ask yourself. “Didn’t I get promoted just because they couldn’t find someone else who wanted the job or because I’m the quota woman?”
That’s the textbook definition of imposter syndrome.
It can show up as the following:
- not starting before you’re ready
- thinking you’re not good enough
- self-sabotaging yourself & your career
- not asking for what you deserve
- not taking action
- thinking your results are pure luck and that you don’t deserve success
- not asking for help
- fear that you’ll eventually be discovered as a fraught.
And believe me, I know what it’s like. It tends to come up anytime I start something new, switch jobs or careers, which I’ve done quite a few times over the years.
I remember when I started my team lead position, I was terrified of not being good enough, and that eventually, someone would find out. Ultimately, things went well, which took me some time to accept.
It certainly helps to prepare, gain knowledge and experience. But with imposter syndrome, it’s a whole other level.
Even incredibly experienced, knowledgeable, and talented people experience it. While I promote modesty & humbleness, this is taking things a little too far.
For many people, imposter syndrome doesn’t only make them feel uncomfortable but prevents them from taking action and going for their goals.
Why imposter syndrome can be an issue for introverts.
As introverts, we go inward with our thoughts as well as when looking for validation. We’re less likely to seek or accept outside validation than extroverts.
Therefore, when we struggle with imposter syndrome or low self-confidence, to begin with, it’s easier to get caught up in negative thought patterns and hold ourselves back from taking action.
We’re more likely to experience imposter syndrome if we don’t see many examples of people who look like us or share our background who are clearly succeeding in our field.EMILY HU
We also often feel like we have to be more outgoing to progress, giving us the feeling of being inauthentic or a fraud. While, on the one hand, we value authenticity so much, it’s not often that we get appreciated for who we truly are.
Many introverts don’t like the idea of fake it til you make it.
For us, it’s often that more competence leads to confidence, hence knowing more about a subject and having long-term experience, instead of just throwing out buzzwords and acting overly confident.
How can you start fighting imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is something a lot of my clients are dealing with. It’s also often part of a bigger issue, of lacking confidence and negative self-talk, which I’ve covered in other posts.
Dealing with imposter syndrome is complex and has many layers of issues to tackle. But here are a few suggestions that have helped me in the past:
1. Feeling like an imposter does not mean that you are one!
It’s alright to have self-doubt & feel like an imposter at times. Being reflective and having self-awareness can be a good thing. Just don’t let those thoughts consume you but focus on taking action instead.
2. Get out of your head & take action.
It’s never helpful to dwell on your imperfections and insecurities. Instead, why not focus on your goals and take small and achievable actions to get there.
If, after (as) objective (as possible) evaluation, there’s an area that you would like to improve on, go for it. Competence does indeed lead to more confidence – it has, however, to be within reason!
3. Refuse to let imposter syndrome hold you back.
I’ve learned that it’s impartial to act before you’re ready. It’s normal and a lot more effective to learn as you go.
4. Work on your self-talk and confidence.
The first step is to notice & evaluate your thoughts. What are you constantly telling yourself? Are these thoughts helpful? How can you reframe them? Here’s a more in-depth post on confidence that might be interesting for you.
It’s also a great idea to create an accomplishments list to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved so far. Remember to write down why you were responsible for this success.
5. Develop a healthy response to failure and making mistakes.
It’s way too easy for people with imposter syndrome to get caught up in a tiny mistake they made.
It’s a lot more helpful to view mistakes as learning opportunities and ask yourself how you can improve going forward.
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”