Imposter syndrome, have you heard of it? It’s an issue that likely plagued you at some point in your life whether in regards to your education, career, relationship, or even parenthood. While a relatively new term, it is not a relatively new idea. In layman’s terms, imposter syndrome is that feeling that you’re a fraud + that everyone is going to catch on that you have no idea what you’re doing. It is the inability to internalize your own accomplishments + forget what a #bossbabe you are.
This phenomenon has become so popular, it’s even been broken down into 5 different forms of imposter syndrome: the perfectionist, the super(wo)man, the natural genius, the rugged individualist, and the expert. I definitely fall into the expert category for my work + the perfectionist one for this blog. My imposter syndrome has taken some real roots since I started my new job + relaunched this blog. Here is what I am dealing with + how I’m striving to overcome it.
Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is something that affects both men + women no matter where you are in life. For me, I see it real it’s head in my career + in my writing. When it comes to my career, I’ve had an interesting journey. After several internships + a move to Austin, I worked as a freelance social media strategist while obtaining my master’s degree, This is where imposter syndrome reared its ugly head. Despite my qualifications, I could not believe people would trust me to run their social media – just ME! It caused me to severely downplay my abilities + success when it was brought up to other people. During this time I also worked at a few agencies, never quite finding the right fit. Before moving back to Tennessee, I worked at an agency where I was constantly under the microscope + the pressure caused me to doubt myself + my ability + it showed in my work. That played a large role in the imposter syndrome I feel in my new role.
Here is the trick about imposter syndrome – intellectually I know I am qualified for what I do. I’ve studied it. I’ve been certified in it + I’ve had success. Despite that, it still sometimes blows my mind that people trust me as an expert. Being the only digital person at my job, I am the go-to for all questions. I help craft the strategy + run campaigns. While I obviously have a boss, I am often deferred to as the expert. These people with years of experience accept me as the subject matter expert (which I am) + take my words as such – our company owners included! This is where imposter syndrome really comes out to play. Like everyone else, I want to be seen as a strong, capable, badass in the workforce. Letting my imposter syndrome show will only make me seem less capable. I work hard to make sure I am the expert they believe I am + to speak with authority + conviction. This is one of the ways I work to overcome this silly syndrome.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
There is a ton of literature out there on how to overcome imposter syndrome + if you are suffering through it, I hope you dive into it! As I stated earlier, one of my best strategies is to fake it because I’ve made it. I work with highly intelligent people + I have to assume that 1) they were smart enough to hire a competent person and 2) they know enough to tell what is good work + what is garbage. This, of course, is just one of many ways to overcome imposter syndrome. Here are a few more:
- Know your own accomplishments. When you’re feeling like a fraud, list all the things that helped get you to where you are + remind yourself how you were good enough to get here.
- Boost your confidence. While low self-esteem isn’t the only factor in imposter syndrome it is a contributing factor. Raise yours with these confidence-boosting tips.
- Don’t play to compare game. Don’t compare yourself to other people even in your same position. Everyone has different skills, hard + soft, that make every comparison apples to oranges.
- Learn more! The best way to beat feeling like you don’t know enough is to learn more! Get Google Analytics or Hootesuite Certified. Subscribe to newsletters like TheSkimm that keep you in the know. This can only help you.
- Talk it out. Tell someone what you are struggling with. Talking it out with other people allows them to point out how you are not an imposter + how you deserve to be where you are + that you’re doing a great job. It always sounds more believable to hear how great you are coming from someone else.
The first step in any recovery is the first admitting you have a problem. There is no imposters-anonymous, but talking with your peers is a great way to realize you aren’t alone + that we all deal with it. Find yourself a supportive tribe + leave those feelings of inadequacy behind!