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Do you know what Imposter Syndrome is, and are you suffering from it?  If, like me, you recently moved careers and left an industry that you knew inside out, and now you have the feeling of being overwhelmed!  Do I hear a resounding yes?  Then this is probably one of the first indicators that you are suffering from imposter syndrome.   

Finally, after six months, I am flourishing in my new role.  In the beginning, though, I am not going to lie; I was not sure I had the competence or intelligence to thrive in this unfamiliar environment.  While researching industry websites, blogs and thought leaders, I found an article on Imposter Syndrome.  Not knowing what this term was, piqued my interest; low and behold, it described how I was feeling. 

Those struggling with imposter syndrome believe they are undeserving of their achievements; They feel that they aren’t as proficient or clever as others might think.  At any moment, their colleagues will discover the truth about them. 

Understanding Imposter Syndrome 

Why did I feel like such a fraud?  I had no reason to.  I knew I was capable and experienced enough for my new role.  There was evidence of my successes.  But often, those suffering from Imposter Syndrome attribute their success to luck or good timing.  Whether it is career success or academic achievement, a person can struggle with pressure and personal expectations. 

Specific personality traits can cause imposter syndrome; those who suffer are usually struggling with: 

  • Self-efficacy 
  • Perfectionism 
  • Neuroticism 
  • Competitive environments can also antagonise the feelings of imposter syndrome. 

How Common is Imposter Syndrome? 

According to Psychology Today, around 25 to 30% of high achievers may suffer from imposter syndrome.  And approximately 70% of adults may experience impostor syndrome at least once in their lifetime. 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 

How do you change someone’s mindset about their skills and abilities?  Imposters feel like they don’t exist, so acknowledging their expertise and achievements is imperative to remind themselves that they have earned their place in their professional roles. 

Staying focused and measuring your accomplishments is key, don’t worry about comparing them to others.  Attempting to complete every task flawlessly adds pressure to your work environment.  Allowing fear to take over, that any mistake will reveal to colleagues that you are not smart enough for the role, can bring on a bout of imposter syndrome.  

A small win is to start building your own ‘Freaking Fabulous’ feedback folder to collect and store gratitude and positive reinforcements you have received across your professional career.  Your folder is somewhere you can go to reaffirm your skills and confidence.  A place to remind you of your wins!   

Tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome: 

  • Reflect on your sound achievements 
  • Share your feelings with a confidant outside of your professional environment 
  • Seek out a mentor who has followed a similar path 
  • Expect to make mistakes at the beginning of a new experience  

It is essential to fight imposter syndrome as it can stifle your growth, preventing you from pursuing new opportunities at work.  Confronting it head-on will help you thrive in the future.  

Talking about imposter syndrome certainly helped me overcome the feelings I had.  Receiving positive feedback (and, of course, constructive criticism) from managers, supervisors and colleagues all helped in the struggle to keep my imposter syndrome in check. 

At Nova, we will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and, when required, refer you to our career partner, Connect By Nova, to talk through career action plans, interview tips and advice to help with your career and beyond. 

 

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