Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Tips and Strategies for Success

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

“My success is a matter of chance.”

“I am not as good as them. One day they will find out.”

“I worry about being exposed as a fake. I was never meant to be here.”

Do you ever get these thoughts? When someone tells you how they admire you and your success, do you put on a weak smile and secretly worry that one day you will be “exposed”. This is not false humility. You may be suffering from the #ImposterSyndrome. It is more common than you think.

Imposter syndrome can have serious consequences for #mentalhealth and #career development.

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Imposter syndrome explained

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where you feel like you are not good enough or qualified enough for your achievements, even though you have evidence of your skills and accomplishments. You may doubt yourself and worry that others will find out that you are a fraud. Imposter syndrome may be more common among people who face stereotypes or discrimination, such as women or minorities.

  1. Women feel the need to work harder than male colleagues
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Imposter syndrome impacts mental health

Many women in the corporate environment feel like they don’t belong in a leadership position. You may think that you got there by luck or by pleasing others, rather than by your own merit. You may also feel like you have to work harder than your male colleagues to prove yourself, or that you have to avoid making mistakes at all costs.

2. Young professionals do not feel confident for the opportunity

Another example of imposter syndrome that applies to a young professional is feeling like you are not ready or experienced enough for your role or responsibilities. You may compare yourself to others who seem more confident or competent, and feel like you are falling behind. You may also feel like you have to fake your knowledge or skills, or that you have to learn everything on your own without asking for help.

3. Imposter syndrome affects immigrants

Of the 63 unicorns in Silicon Valley, many have an immigrant founders. Yet immigrants commonly show signs of Imposter syndrome. It is true that immigrants face many challenges in adapting to a new culture, language, and society, and they may feel like they don’t belong or deserve to be there. They often face discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes that undermine their confidence and self-esteem.

Impossible goals, perfectionism, no work-life balance

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The need to prove oneself comes through when we set goals that are unreachable. That leads to working long hours, burnout and isolation from friends and colleagues. Perfectionism is another behaviour that comes from a fear of failure.

People who experience imposter syndrome often end up sabotaging one’s own success. They obsess over minor mistakes, or work twice as hard to prove themselves. They may set impossibly high standards.

Three easy ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome

Sketchnote by Abhijit Bhaduri on how to overcome Imposter Syndrome
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1. Set realistic goals: Build in time to learn and experiment if you are doing it for the first time. Don’t assume superhuman capabilities. Plan a normal working day. You feel better when you meet the deadline. Ask your colleagues to do an independent estimate of the time they would suggest.

2. When someone praises you, write it down: Some people call it a “brag sheet” where they list their achievements. If someone appreciates something about you, write it down. Mention the name of the person and the date when the incident happened. Reading the brag sheet will build your confidence.

3. Get a mentor: Having a coach or a mentor can help you build self-awareness. Most people set impossible standards and believe that is what will get them accepted into the mainstream. Build a core group of friends who accept you for who you are – rather than for your achievements.

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and professor at the Wharton School of Business, says that imposter syndrome can be a great trigger for achievement if we use it as a fuel rather than a fire. He suggests that we adopt a growth mindset and believe in our ability to learn from our challenges and mistakes. He also shares three steps to harness our insecurities and turn them into strengths: acknowledge them, share them and reframe them. He says that by doing so, we can build trust, empathy and creativity with ourselves and others.

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri’s LinkedIn

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