Fighting the Feeling
For creators, influencers, artists, etc., imposter syndrome is an incredibly common and unfortunate part of the job. Of course, not everyone experiences it, but for those who do, it can be overwhelming and scary. Imposter syndrome, or the collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success, can affect anyone at all and can make or break a career. Unfortunately though, imposter syndrome is more likely to impact individuals who are part of minority groups. Due to messaging from society and a lack of diversity in many workplaces, people of color often feel like they are being told they don’t belong. It’s important to acknowledge imposter syndrome and fight it in one’s self in order to preserve diversity in spaces where it needs to be.
Fear not, for there are many tips and steps to follow to overcome the feeling. Understanding that imposter syndrome is real and pressing is the first step. Also, acknowledging that it is what you are feeling is very important. In order to fully shake the feeling, you have to understand that you are experiencing imposter syndrome.
Steps for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
- Call it like it is. As previously mentioned, the first and most important step is to understand that you are dealing with imposter syndrome. In order to stop thinking like an imposter, you have to acknowledge that you aren’t one. Instead, your brain, along with societal and social factors, is convincing yourself that you are. Being able to clearly see the way your brain is working against you is crucial. This is the first step in being able to change your thought processes. If you never admit to having imposter syndrome, you will likely never be able to break the cycle of feeling inadequate in your mind. This could have direct impacts on your work, job position, and mental health. If you’re unsure or still doubtful that you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, take a look at this short quiz to help determine the truth.
- Learn the differences between facts and feelings. It’s inevitable that we’ll all feel stupid or embarrassed about something we’ve messed up at work. But receiving criticism doesn’t mean that you are untalented or unworthy. Even though criticism may hurt your feelings, it was given to you so that you can improve. There is always room for improvement in everyone, even those we consider to be the best at what they do. Just because you feel dumb at the moment doesn’t mean that you are dumb. It’s just a temporary feeling, not a fact about you as a person. It’s important to acknowledge feelings and give yourself time to process them. But, with that said, it’s never helpful to convince yourself that the way you’re feeling is the truth.
- Realize there are times where you could feel fraudulent. It makes sense that a person could doubt their sense of belonging somewhere if no one looks like them in a room. People of color, women and non-binary individuals, and individuals with disabilities, for example, often struggle from this feeling. As the world changes and fields begin to diversify, these situational imposter feelings may cease, but for now, they are very real and very prevalent. Understanding that it’s not a fault or flaw of yours that there aren’t many people in your field that look like you is an important step in overcoming imposter syndrome.
- Recognize your talent. With overcoming imposter syndrome, a really imperative step is to evaluate your skills and work. Take a step back and look at it objectively. Chances are, if you let yourself, you will see the quality and skill that you possess. Be able and open to forgive yourself when you make a mistake, but understand that your mistake doesn’t lessen any of your other work and capabilities. You likely wouldn’t have the position you do if you weren’t good, that’s just logical. But the act of appreciating your work and yourself is good for your mental health in general.
- Keep track of your thoughts. Knowing and recognizing when imposter syndrome feelings pop up for you is a powerful tool and aid in beating it. Become conscious of your thoughts and keep track of the situation you’re in when you start to feel like an imposter. Being able to pinpoint what triggers you will help to show you that the feeling is more situational than anything else. It will allow you to slowly start changing your thought process. For example, when you catch yourself thinking, “I’m not as talented as anyone else in this room,” switch that thought to, “Everyone here is so talented, I’m going to learn and become so much better at my job.” This is obviously easier said than done, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Understand Your Worth
Of course, these are not the end all be all ways to overcome imposter syndrome. There is a lot of internal work to be done on your part. It will be hard and there will be moments where you temporarily slip back into the imposter mindset. Remember, your setbacks in thinking don’t determine your worth or talent.
The societal factors that play into imposter syndrome will likely not be fixed any time soon, unfortunately. All it takes is to be aware of your thoughts and recognize your talent. If you are able to understand your worth and realize that you are in your position for a reason, your work will benefit. It is a powerful thing to realize you are talented and worthy, and it is completely necessary as well.
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