I should start off by saying that imposter syndrome isn't actually a syndrome. It's a phenomenon. Thanks to my good friend and positively psychology expert, Tallia Deljou, for pointing this out to me. Most people call it imposter syndrome, so we'll continue with that.
What is imposter syndrome?
Impostor syndrome was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. It typically occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. Instead, they believe they’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of their talent or qualifications.
My version of imposter syndrome
I started a new job 8 months ago, and right now imposter syndrome feels like my company is going to realize they hired the wrong person for the job. I constantly feel like a fraud - like I duped them somehow during the interview.
But I have to remind myself a few things:
They received hundreds of applications
They went through multiple rounds of interviews
They offered me the job 4 months before I could even start
They waited for me to relocate to a new country
They keep telling me they're glad I'm here
I've received positive performance reviews
I'm on track to achieve all the goals I've set
People turn to me as the expert
So why do I feel like an imposter? I have no fucking clue, to be honest. The point is, no matter how much reassurance I've received over the 8 months, I still feel like a fraud. If that's not a phenomenon, I don't know what is!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
With imposter syndrome, just like anything else, I find it's so much better to talk about it than bottle it up.
So here's what I do to try and deal with imposter syndrome
Acknowledge how I am feeling. I typically notice my imposter syndrome creeping up when I start to feel anxiety about my work, so that has become a trigger for me to check in with myself. I try to differentiate between facts and feelings about whatever situation I am in. For example, it's a fact that I was selected among hundreds of applicants for my role, even though I am feeling like it was sheer luck. Focusing on facts helps me reframe my mindset and release doubts I have about my abilities.
Talk with trusted friends and colleagues. For me, it's been especially helpful to hear from people who have been with the organization longer than I have. Typically, they have been able to reassure me what I've been feeling is normal or they have offered useful advice to move me forward. In the past, I have also reached out to mentors outside my industry or organization who have provided a different perspective into my situation.
So tell me, what does imposter syndrome feel like to you? What do you do to cope with those feelings?