Three Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Do you ever feel like you aren’t good at your job or worry that you don’t really belong at your company? These are the kinds of thoughts that typically float in the mind of someone who suffers from “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome is defined as the belief that you’re not as talented as you’ve led others to believe, despite proof that you are entirely capable.

These feelings, while common, can adversely affect your career if left unchecked. This syndrome is especially prevalent among those with high ambition, but persistent self-doubt can be inhibiting, both personally and professionally. The grip of this syndrome can produce a strong hold over your mental well-being.

The best method for effectively fighting Imposter Syndrome is to get ahead of it before it progresses to a damaging level. Rachel Lefkowitz at LinkedIn Learning outlined three effective ways to do exactly that, using tips and research from an expert, Dr. Carolyn Goerner.

Identify Your Skills

It’s easy to think that anyone can do your job and that it doesn’t require specific skill sets. However, it’s important to remind yourself that the skills you bring to the table are, in fact, unique and highly valuable. 

Make a list of your responsibilities at work and the respective skills related to successfully carrying out those tasks. Be sure to include any training courses or certifications that are required for your particular role. Then, conduct an investigation by searching on LinkedIn or Google to discover how many people in your region, or even what percentage of people in the entire world, possess the same skills and abilities that you do.

You will be surprised to see just how uncommon your knowledge and abilities are when it comes to the overall population. This will help you realize how truly valuable you are to your company, and to the world.

List Your Accomplishments

Obviously you were physically present for your achievements, but maybe you never fully internalized the extent of what you’ve accomplished. If you are feeling Imposter Syndrome, this may be the case for you.

Think of everything you have achieved in your professional life. Write out a thorough list of your accomplishments, and be sure to include all awards and promotions. Reflect on how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today. Dig deeper to list more subtle things, such as the way you impact your co-workers on a daily basis or your community in general through volunteering or other activities.

It will help your mentality when you realize how valuable your achievements really are. And you may find that you are a positive influence to more people than you thought.

Compile Positive Evidence

Make an effort to collect any positive emails, texts, and letters of appreciation that you receive. When you’re feeling down or like you don’t belong, turn to these items as tokens of all the good that you have done.

Compile a physical folder to hold this evidence. Once you’ve completed your trove of evidence, be sure to continue to update it with new appreciation notes that you are given. Although this may seem like a time-consuming task, it is an extremely beneficial exercise.

Revisit the folder often to remind yourself how valuable, talented, and appreciated you really are. This will help you quickly stave off the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome when they start sneaking up on you.

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You can read more about Why Self-Doubt May Be Sabotaging Your Career at LinkedIn Learning.