Monday, April 4, 2016

3 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

A confident stride, a firm handshake and a calm demeanor in a crisis will more than likely ensure that you are seen as a real pro at work, someone who is competent and skilled in her job.

But before work every morning, you're a mess. Your stomach may even cramp at the thought of putting in another day in a job where you feel like a fraud. You worry that everyone is going to find out that you're really not qualified and the job and your life are going to crumble into a million pieces.

You're not alone. I've talked to many successful people in powerful jobs over the years, and I've been surprised by the number who tell me that they feel like imposters.

Those suffering from what is known as "imposter syndrome" believe they don't deserve what they have achieved. It doesn't matter how hard they've worked to get to a top position, they're constantly doubting themselves. So, they work even harder, heading toward emotional and physical burnout.

So, how can you quiet that inner voice that nags you night and day? The American Psychological Association has some tips:

1.  Reach out. You're not alone in your feelings, and it can help to talk to a mentor or other trusted person such as a psychologist who can help you gain some perspective. 

2. Write your resume. This is a gift to yourself. Once you look at your accomplishments, training and hard work over the years, you will see that your success isn't a fluke. You are where you are because you deserve to be there. Writing down your accomplishments also will help you gain a realistic view of areas you may want to improve, instead of thinking that everything you do needs to get better.

3. Build a new mindset one step at a time. You can't just snap your fingers and automatically be rid of imposter feelings. But you can set some limitations to prevent yourself from overworking and fixating on trying to make everything perfect (there is no such thing as perfection, remember?) For example, commit to eight hours for an assignment, instead of obsessing over making it perfect and working 10 or 12 hours.

It's time to stop feeling so anxious about your career. You should be able to enjoy your work without feeling like you're not worthy. Other people have overcome it and are much happier in their careers, and it's time you took steps to do the same.

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