HOW TO COMBAT IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Have you ever felt like a fraud? Have you ever felt like one minute you’re on to something great, and the next you’re wondering “who am I kidding?” IMPOSTER SYNDROME. The term was coined by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978 as the “internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” AKA - despite your long list of achievements, you feel like you’re faking it and you’re afraid you’re going to get caught. It hits us the hardest: women, women of color, and people from underrepresented groups. It’s NOT a good feeling - I battle with this all the time, and many high performing women share this same rollercoaster of emotions.
“It’s just been convincing myself that I’m worthy enough to be able to tell these stories, you know?” - Issa Rae
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” - Maya Angelou
“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.” - Tina Fey
“Every day. It still doesn’t feel real. When you come from a poor or working class background, if you’re a woman, if you’re person of color, if you have an immigrant story, you’re a first generation, you’re always haunted by impostor’s syndrome, like this idea that you got here by accident.” - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
It’s an ongoing battle. It’s especially hard when you are constantly “one of the only” or “the first ___ to…” , because you’re constantly doubting if you’re heading down the right (and often lonely) path. But it’s one we can win together. We’re in an interesting time in history now. A time where we, as women, can take our destiny into own hands. Here are some steps to fight and overcome Imposter Syndrome:
The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to acknowledge you are experience it. Recognizing the feeling of being a fraud will not only help you rationalize that it’s only a feeling in your head, but familiarizing yourself with the feeling will also help you work through it in the future.
Find a Mentor
Mentorship is something that I’ve personally always advocated for in my career. And Imposter Syndrome tends to grow when you’re alone, silent, don’t talk through the experience - either internally or externally. Having people in your corner to support you in your career so that you feel comfortable talking about your insecurities will help you feel like you are not alone and that you can win this battle.
Document your Accomplishments
The age of social media can also inflate this feeling that you are not where you should be in your life. But it is always important to remember that most people only post and share the highlights. You must remember that you are going through your own journey to get to where you want to be and every step forward is progress, and progress takes time. So write down your achievements so that you can visually see that you are on the right track and moving forward.
Internalize your Sucesses.
This is important, and it is much easier said than done. Your awards, accomplishments and successes will not mean anything to you if you yourself do not believe that you deserve it. You did not get here by chance. You did not get lucky. Your voice, your point of view, your presence, is necessary. You’ve worked hard to earn everything that you’ve gotten. Remember that.