Imposter Syndrome: How to Avoid it At Work

Imposter syndrome is defined as the feeling high-achieving adults have that they will somehow be discovered as frauds. This means you can’t internalize your accomplishments, no matter how successful you are. It can become a serious issue for many professionals since they can never take pride in their work and constantly fear they will have the rug pulled out from under them. Before this phenomenon becomes a problem for you in your career, here are some ways to avoid imposter syndrome at work.

  1. Focus on value, not perfection. Imposter syndrome and perfectionism often go hand in hand. You want to make sure that the work you’re doing is impeccable, and that is certainly important. But when we get too bogged down in perfection, everything can fall apart. Instead, judge your success by the value you bring to your job and your company. You are an important part of their process and they are fortunate to have you working for them.
  2. Know that this isn’t luck. Many people who are affected by imposter syndrome feel like they are just lucky to have gotten to the level they did. And, while some circumstances are by chance, you did earn your success. You made specific and often calculated choices that led you to your path and that isn’t something just anyone is capable of. You weren’t just luck, you were skilled and talented.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Another morale killer is the constant comparison to others. Even someone in the exact same position you’re in has a very different path and story that got them to where they are. When you make unnecessary comparisons to others, you will downplay your own achievements. You will forget that you had a different story, or that they do. Take a step back and avoid these traps.
  4. Own your ambition. This fear of being found out often causes people to stop taking risks. You worry that if you put yourself out there too far, everyone will notice that you really don’t know what you’re doing. But the most successful people in any industry take on this risk. They are willing to jump in and even accept failure when it happens. You may not accomplish everything you set out to do, but you will prove to yourself that you can try.

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