5 Tips for Dealing with Impostor Syndrome in Your Career

Written by
Brandi Kane

May 25, 2018

May 25, 2018 • by Brandi Kane

Is impostor syndrome leaving you paralyzed in your career? Do you feel like a fraud, despite years of experience and qualifications? Take back control of your career with these five essential tips for dealing with impostor syndrome.

Are you struggling with the personal and professional consequences of dealing with impostor syndrome?

If so, you're not the only one. An astounding 70% of millennials can think they aren’t good enough or don’t deserve the job they have.

Feeling like everyone else is better and more qualified than you, that failure in your career is inevitable, or just experiencing constant self-doubt and insecurity can destroy an otherwise wonderful career.

It can lead to procrastination, too much focus on unimportant details, or just a failure to push yourself, apply for better positions, or share your awesome ideas with your bosses and coworkers.

The good news? Overcoming impostor syndrome is completely possible.

In this post, we'll show you how.

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Do you feel like all of your professional achievements are a "fluke," based on luck, or just happened because there was no one else around more qualified than you at the time the opportunity was available?

Do you find yourself constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, and anticipating the day that everyone will find out you don't have the experience, qualifications, or even the intelligence to do your job as well as other people could?

Do you doubt that you deserve what you have, do you expect for it all to be taken away at any moment, and do you feel like you're fooling people into thinking you're smarter or better or have deeper industry connections than you actually do?

If so, then it sounds like you're already dealing with impostor syndrome.

Those with this fraud syndrome see themselves as fakers and failures that have somehow gotten to where they are in life because they've been able to fool people into thinking they're better than they actually are.

It's a vicious cycle of self-loathing and stress that only holds you back.

To learn how to overcome impostor syndrome, keep on reading.

1. Stop the Comparisons

We all have that person in our lives.

The one that "has it all." The person that always has the best ideas at meetings. The whiz kid who has been able to climb the professional ladder at lightning speed. The woman who has broken through the glass ceiling when you haven't.

Stop comparing yourself, your accomplishments, and where you are in your life and career to that person. Also, understand that, no matter how you see them, that person has their own insecurities and problems, too.

Instead of beating yourself up and worrying about how much less qualified you are than them, focus on how you can learn from them.

2. Celebrate Small Successes

Closed the deal? Scored a lunch meeting with a big potential client? Found out that you're in the promotion pool for a great opportunity next quarter?

Instead of seeing the potential downfall of it all, celebrate what you've been able to achieve -- no matter how big or small.

Think about how much you've grown professionally in a month, a year, or even since college.

Remember that it's all about taking a few minutes each day for self-gratitude and thinking about the future with excitement.

3. Write It All Down

Sometimes, overcoming impostor syndrome means facing your fears head-on.

If your anxiety and self-doubt are especially bad, take out a piece of paper or open a Word document and start typing out, stream-of-consciousness-style, all the things that you fear.

Allow yourself to spiral and to be as dramatic as you need to be -- no judgment. Then, walk away for a few minutes, and come back and look at it later.

Understand your worst case scenarios, and figure out which ones are realistic and which ones are really all in your head.

Then, delete or burn the piece of paper. Sometimes, getting your stresses out on paper is all you need!

4. Get Moving

If you want to learn how to deal with impostor syndrome, then you need to realize that sometimes, the only way to stop the cycle of self-doubt and paranoia is to spring into action.

Use your fear of failure as a method of motivation.

Think that you're not ready to present at that big conference?

Write a couple of emails to your best networking connections and ask them for a few presentation pointers. Look for other conferences in your area and attend them to see what works and what doesn't. Practice in front of the mirror. Watch a few TED talks. Even consider taking a public speaking course or an acting class.

The more prepared you are, and the more concrete steps you take towards success, the better you'll feel -- and the more you'll understand that hard work means you do deserve the success that will come.

5. You're Not the Only one Dealing with Impostor Syndrome

Of course, the best way of dealing with impostor syndrome is to realize that literally everyone feels the same way you do.

When in doubt, talk to a colleague or a friend that you trust. You might be surprised to learn just how inadequate so many people feel -- yes, even your boss.

Once you realize that we're all in the same boat, you won't just become more empathetic towards your team members. You'll also be a lot less hard on yourself.

Find a Job That Celebrates You

Whether it's writing out all your anxieties or taking the time to prepare for upcoming professional challenges, we hope that this post has helped you to understand that dealing with impostor syndrome is possible -- and incredibly important.

Above all, make sure you find a job that allows you to shine and use your skill set to improve your workplace and the lives of your clients.

Looking for a new career opportunity?

We can help.

Spend some time on our job board to find the right position for you at a company that shares your values. To learn more about how you can continue to shine in any field, keep checking back with our professional development and career blog.

And always remember you are good enough!