How I Deal With the Imposter Syndrome

June 22, 2020
How I Deal With the Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like what you have previously accomplished in life was due to luck and not your own competences and skill? If you have, then you have experienced the imposter syndrome. It’s a common mental health phenomenon that has been experienced by about 70% of the population at some point in their life.

When I learned about the imposter syndrome, I felt a bit of relief. I was glad that feeling I often had of not being “good enough” was experienced by a lot of other people. I feel like especially in the constantly changing industries such as technology, it is easy to feel not qualified enough and feel like everyone else knows more than you do. I feel the strongest symptoms of the syndrome when looking for internships. It’s almost inevitable: interviewing for companies means I compete with other highly competent candidates. It sometimes seems like others either have more experience, know more than me and are more qualified for the job than me. Another time I experience the symptoms is when I hear about or meet someone my age or younger that has amazing accomplishments like their own company, their own house or a job at a company I want to work at. With social media, it is so (maybe a little too much?) easy to find someone my age or that have accomplished a lot more than me, which definitely does not help my efforts to overcome the syndrome. I feel those symptoms because I compare myself to those people and tell myself I haven’t done enough or that I would never be able to do what they have done. Imposter syndrome really takes a toll on self-esteem and can have a negative impact on your future accomplishments and goals.

What I do when I feel symptoms of the imposter syndrome

There is no secret to overcoming the imposter syndrome: you have to change your mindset and how you see yourself. Truthfully, I have not overcome the syndrome; I very much so experience its symptoms often. However, with time, I have learned ways to deal with it and decrease its effects.

First, I think the most important thing to do when experiencing imposter syndrome is to remind yourself of your worth. Make a list (mental or not) of your previous accomplishments, skills and competences. A reminder of what you’re able to do can help your mind realize your worth and that your previous successes were not based on luck but on talent and hard work.

Second, STOP comparing yourself. I can assure you it does not bring you any good. There’s a big difference between feeling inspired by someone else and comparing yourself with someone else. When looking at someone else’s accomplishments or content, you should feel inspired to set yourself goals or start new projects. You should not feel worst about yourself. On my socials, I like to only follow and look at content of people that inspire me, not the ones who I compare myself with. I find that regularly “cleaning” my socials and unfollowing or muting people whose content does not make me feel inspired helps keep away the imposter syndrome symptoms. There is always going to be someone better than you at a specific thing out there and you have to learn to be okay with that. Focus on yourself, your goals, your happiness and the imposter syndrome will stay away.

The last thing I like to do to attenuate the symptoms is to listen to stories from people who experienced similar feelings. One thought I frequently have when experiencing imposter syndrome is that everyone seems to have it all figured out while I don’t know what I’m doing. Listening to other people talking about how they feel the same way I do is comforting and helps a lot when it comes to making those thoughts go away. I like to listen to podcasts and go on a walk to clear my head!

Here are some podcasts episodes recommendation related to this article:

Gals On the Go, How We Get Inspired: Our Favorite Social Media Accounts to Follow, Podcasts, Books, and More : Listen if you need to stop comparing yourself on social media.

Thick and Thin, Trying scary, new things & imposter syndrome: Listen if you want to hear someone else’s struggles with the imposter syndrome.

Hopefully this blog post reassured some of you experiencing imposter syndrome and informed others on its existence!