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Imposter syndrome isn't fun, how do you deal with it?

I'm more than positive that imposter syndrome will follow me for the rest of my life in school, work, etc... and I'm sure it's followed (or following) others also. It sucks, but I believe it can be dealt with in healthy ways, what are some ways you deal with it when it increases or appears unexpectedly? (other than therapy, what are some ways to do it when you want to be alone or when you can't talk about it?)

#college-advice #career-advice #life-advice #college #career #education #psychology

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Joseph’s Answer

Hi Stephanie,

You are right! You are not alone in this.

First and foremost, it is, ironically, a good thing that you feel this imposter syndrome, which means you have the necessary introspective skills to think about your "self".

Secondly, to deal with it, I would try and answer the following question. What element is making you feel like an imposter? Is it a lack of skill or lack of experience? What can you do to fix it? This way, you are turning this feeling into a sense of goal which empowers you to become a better version of yourself!

Last but not least, I would suggest you look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and take a look at the graph. You have successfully moved beyond the "mount of stupid" and are navigating from the Valley of Despair, through the Slope of Enlightenment to eventually reach the Plateau of Sustainability.

I am pretty sure you will do great, and feel free to seek help or mentorship to guide you through this if you think it helps!
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Nick’s Answer

Hi Stephanie,

As others have pointed out, you are not alone. A ton of people deal with it and it's normal.

I know you asked for ways to deal with imposter syndrome alone or when you can't talk about it, but if you can talk about it with others, it helps immensely. Talk to a classmate, teacher, counselor or someone else. It has helped me more than I can imagine.

But for ways to deal with it alone: one thing I recommend is to look at your past work and see how far you have come. It can also help you realize why you started in the first place, which is also helpful.

Another way to help is to work on something completely unrelated to your career or on a hobby. I previously had an issue with working a ridiculous amount in order to stop imposter syndrome and it just made me burn out. When you feel stressed, try drawing, reading, go for a walk, or something else to clear your head for a bit.

Best of luck!
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Zohra’s Answer

Hi Stephanie,

Imposter syndrome will follow you, but luckily you're not alone. Even the most experienced, senior folks I interview get imposter syndrome. The best way to deal with it is to find a mentor who is in the a place you'd like to be, and reach out the them for mentorship and have an open an honest discussion about how you feel and what you'd like to happen for you professionally.

My next advise is, get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Uncomfortability is where real growth happens. I am a career changer and I learned a whole new field in 15 weeks of schooling. Needless to say it was really overwhelming and imposter syndrome was inevitable, but surrounding myself with people who were in positions I wanted to be in along with putting myself out there by being more vocal, going to more networking events, practicing affirmation, etc. helped me keep those feelings at bay.

Now, I'm better at dealing with uncomfortability and having imposter syndrome. It's not resolved by any means, but rather a work in progress with more progress.

Good Luck!


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Eleanor’s Answer

I deal with this frequently! Something that has helped me is to keep track of my accomplishments and the impact that they have had. So when I'm feeling like I don't belong (or my boss if gonna figure out I'm faking it and fire me at my next review), I can point to actual results. That does not mean that the imposter syndrome goes away, but I can temper my emotions. Something else I do in the moment of those feelings is that I label my emotion and not myself. For example, "I'm feeling like I'm in over my head on this project" instead of "I'm in over my head on this project." It's a small distinction, but it's impactful.
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Josh’s Answer

Ask questions.

I think imposter syndrome comes from comparing ourselves to others. Often, it happens because we either have a distorted view of the other person, or we have unrealistic expectations on ourselves. When you're comparing yourself to someone and find yourself lacking, I think that asking questions can be a good, constructive place to start.

"How did you learn this?"
"How long did it take you to learn?"
"What experience lead to you learning this thing?"
"Do you have any advice on how I can learn this better?"

We're all the sum of our experiences, and each of us has walked a different path to get where we are. Asking questions may help shed some light on others' experiences, how they differ from our own, and where we want to go, and how we can move to get there. We all have a finite amount of time and attention, and everything we do is a choice. Better information leads to better choices.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Stephanie!
I often feel this way, and it helps me to sit down and think about what I have accomplished. That can boost my confidence into "Oh yeah! I can kind of do this!" haha =). Also taking care of little things (budgeting, hobbies, etc.) that I feel confident in can be helpful to me. I will say that the feeling for me has not completely gone away, but it does lessen with things like this. If you have good feedback from a teacher/colleague/client this can also be a boost =). Talking with others if you have some colleagues feeling similarly can help. Good luck, and you are definitely not alone!
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Shruti’s Answer

Just the fact that you recognize you are experiencing imposter syndrome is a great thing!
One of the things that inspire me and enable me to overcome imposter syndrome is figuring out ways that can boost my confidence. I set goals for myself, work hard in a disciplined manner and show myself those results. Here most important thing is to focus on yourself. Ask yourself - What was I last year, what am I now and who do I want to achieve by next year. Putting blinders on and competing with yourself is how most successful people get to where they are. Once you are not comparing yourself to others, more than half the stress and load is gone!
Another equally important thing is willingness to love yourself and forgive yourself (both are kind of the same thing).
Again you don't need to understand all these things immediately. But keeping them in your back pocket and using them as needed is the idea. Remember its a marathon and not a sprint.
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