Whether you’re a recent grad who’s just starting a new job or a veteran in your field, chances are you have felt — and will feel in the future — some level of imposter syndrome. You know, that feeling of not deserving a role you’ve been given and the fear that soon, everyone will find out you’re a fraud. So, to help out all our recent grads about to embark on their careers, and those of us who need a periodic reminder, we have a few tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome. After all, everyone, be they a senior engineer or a CDL student — or a blogger — has felt like they’re in over their heads and don’t belong in a certain space!
1. Recognize the feelings
The first step, when you feel like you’re not qualified to be where you are, is to acknowledge and recognize these feelings. When you’re aware of them, you can then take the next steps: figuring out which methods work best for you to combat imposter syndrome and then practicing those methods.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
Have you ever heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy”? Well, it’s also the thief of confidence. Why bother when there are so many more competent people out there doing the same thing, and so much better? Because you have your own experiences and ideas to contribute. To quote former Climb CEO Angela (Ceresnie) Prince, “you have a unique perspective that you bring to the table.”
If we all thought, “oh well, there’s probably someone else who’s much more qualified than I am. No one needs my input,” then no progress would ever be made. And it’s almost a guarantee that anyone being put on a pedestal has been in the same place you are now.
3. Talk about it
To reiterate that last sentence, because it’s important to keep in mind: those people you’ve been comparing yourself to have almost certainly felt the same imposter syndrome that you’ve been feeling. That’s just one way that talking through those nagging voices telling you you’re not good enough can work wonders: you’ll get an outside perspective on how qualified you actually are, you can release the anxiety that’s been building up, and you might even find you’re not alone with these thoughts.
4. Measure yourself in how you’ve grown, not what you’ve done
Consider how much your skills have developed since before you took your first coding, teaching, data science, or crane operating course. Sure, you may not have reached one of those lofty goals you set for yourself when you set out on your career journey, but you are much closer! Instead of measuring yourself in what you have and haven’t done, measure how much you’ve grown compared to where you were when you started.
5. Keep note of accomplishments you’ve done or compliments you’ve been given
It can be easy to allow the high points in your career to be overwhelmed by imposter syndrome. The voice in your head telling you that you don’t belong here is often so much louder than the voices telling you that you’ve done great work. Instead of letting the former make you forget about the latter, keep notes on what you’ve managed to accomplish or improve on, or of compliments people have given you. That way, you have a reminder when imposter syndrome tries to shout over them.
Pro-tip: try sprucing up your resume. Putting down the skills you’ve gained or the projects you’ve completed can help give you a new outlook on the quality and impact of your work (Plus you get an up-to-date resume!)