How many times have you entered a space where it somehow feels like everyone else is more qualified, confident, and accomplished than you? I, like many others, have come across this feeling time and time again, regardless of how irrational it may seem. Imposter syndrome is a feeling of inherent inadequacy frequently encountered when you are trying something new or entering a new setting for the first time. This feeling can, in many cases, seem debilitating and can seriously hinder our own internalized self-worth.
Dealing with imposter syndrome is a universal part of becoming a working adult. Here are some tips to help you overcome this uncomfortable feeling.
- Recognize your feelings: Using your intuition is a great way to understand how you are feeling in a particular situation. Maybe you’ve just entered a new position and you find yourself encountering more self-doubt than usual. Understand that you may be having these feelings because of internalized imposter syndrome. By sensing and recognizing this feeling, you will be better able to regulate it.
Tip: Write your feelings down in a journal or talk about it with friends to get to the root of the issue.
- Separate yourself from what is bringing you down: Not performing the responsibilities that you have to do is not a way to deal with imposter syndrome but taking productive breaks can be a great way to put things into perspective. Maybe take a walk during your lunch break or read some pages of an unrelated book when you get off your shift. By letting our imposter syndrome consume our lives, we are not confronting it in a productive way. It is okay to take some space to process and calm down.
- Allow yourself to connect with others: An easy way to sustain feelings of imposter syndrome is to alienate yourself from others. However, engaging with friends, family, and coworkers can lead us to understand just how common these feelings are. The fear of failure is inevitable and talking about these feelings with others who may be able to relate can allow us to feel less alone.
- Reframe your mindset: So much of imposter syndrome has to do with an inherent fear of failure and fear that we have already failed. When starting a new job, it is common to feel like you are unqualified for the position because you do not know everything that everyone else at your company knows. Reframe your mindset from feeling inferior to recognizing an opportunity for growth. Your employer chose you for a reason and growth is inevitable in any position. Sometimes failure can be a natural consequence of learning, or necessary to reach the level of achievement you want.
- Take it one day at a time: The “fake it till you make it” mindset is extremely common, especially in a work context. However, sometimes this mentality can feel overwhelming, especially when you are in the process of dealing with imposter syndrome. A good alternative is to just take it one day at a time and know that it will get easier. Instead of living too far in the past or the future, focus on the present. This mindset encourages productivity and also increased mindfulness that is bound to assist in coping with these feelings.
Imposter syndrome is an incredibly challenging and layered feeling that many people struggle with in workplaces. Taking tangible steps to remedy this uncomfortable experience will make your work-life so much more comfortable. However, if the anxiety associated with imposter syndrome does begin to become unmanageable, turning to UGA’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) may be beneficial.