Imposter syndrome can be a crippling experience, causing doubt and insecurity to cloud our minds and hinder our professional growth. However, by acknowledging its normalcy and implementing strategies to combat it, we can overcome this self-critical mindset and thrive in our careers.
Today we will explore practical ways to dial down self-doubt, build confidence, and find support in our professional journeys.
Acknowledge and Embrace Newness
Feeling nervous and uncertain in a new role or when surrounded by individuals who differ from us is natural. By recognizing this, we can better navigate the challenges and build resilience. Remember, being new or a minority among a group does not define our worth or capabilities. Instead, it presents an opportunity for growth and learning.
Conquer the Fear of Failure
Imposter syndrome often stems from a deep-rooted fear of failure. To overcome this fear, we must shift our perspective and view failure as a stepping stone towards success. Instead of letting fear paralyze us, channel your nervous energy into learning and adding value to your new role. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement.
Being sincere to ourselves and others is vital in combating imposter syndrome. When we are clear about our values, strengths, and personal identity, we are less likely to conform to societal expectations or try to fit into a mold that wasn't designed for us. Embrace your uniqueness and let it shine in your work. Authenticity breeds confidence and attracts opportunities that align with our true selves.
Capitalize on Your Strengths
No one has all the answers, and that's perfectly okay. Recognize that you were selected for your role based on your unique strengths and abilities. Focus on utilizing these strengths to make a meaningful impact. By capitalizing on what sets us apart, we can contribute value and gain confidence in our abilities.
Find an Ally
Even with the implementation of the above strategies, imposter syndrome may still persist. In such cases, it can be immensely helpful to seek out an ally or a support system. Allies can provide a safe space for sharing experiences and offering encouragement. Look for individuals who understand your journey, have faced similar challenges, and can provide guidance and reassurance.
Imposter syndrome can be debilitating, hindering our professional growth and happiness. However, by acknowledging its existence and implementing strategies to combat it, we can overcome self-doubt and thrive in our careers. Embrace the newness, conquer the fear of failure, be authentic, capitalize on your strengths, and find support in the form of allies. Remember, you are deserving of success, and by embracing your true self, you can achieve your career aspirations with confidence and fulfillment.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.