Tackling Impostor Syndrome
We have all seen these words popping up more and more frequently recently, but what does it really mean? and how can we recognise when impostor syndrome begins to manifest itself in our own lives?
Impostor syndrome refers to the state of feeling or believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. You may feel like you are a “fake” and that at any moment, the people around you are going to figure it out, or that you don’t deserve to be where you are, that you only got to where you are through luck.
Impostor syndrome can affect anyone, at any skill level or degree of expertise at any time, and I can say I have personally experienced it throughout my degree, my job and even through writing for my blog.
Some huge impostor syndrome red flags to look out for include:
- Self-doubt & doubting your own competence
- Self-sabotage & limiting your own success
- Holding yourself back from good opportunities
- Fear you don’t live up to expectations put onto you by yourself or others
- Belittling your performance
Even highly successful people can suffer from this as doing well or achieving a goal doesn’t change how you feel, it only perpetuates the feeling that it was just a fluke. You begin to ask yourself “What gives me the right to be here?” “Who am I to do this?”, and the more you accomplish, the more “fake” you feel. It’s unfortunately a pretty self-perpetuating problem.
For me, impostor syndrome has manifested itself in the form of unbearable levels of self-doubt, questioning “Who am I to deserve to do this?”, questioning writing or speaking about topics as “who am I to write / speak about this?” and feeling inadequate in my abilities as a developer. Feeling like one day everyone is going to turn around and realise I don’t know what I’m doing and I spend a lot of my time googling things to try to work out how to code something (as if they don’t do that too 😅).
However, when it comes to combatting impostor syndrome, the answer is not yet clear. It’s important that when you feel like you aren’t very good at something, it is not a fact that you are actually bad at it. Distinguishing between how you feel and facts, when you start to doubt your abilities is a great way to shift your mindset. Another thing that we all need to work on is developing a healthy response to failure. Instead of feeling like a failure for getting something wrong or making a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it and succeed next time!
Start celebrating the little wins too. Reward yourself for all the positive things you have done, no matter how small. You are worthy, you are not a failure, and you got this 💪.