Imposter syndrome is a prevalent issue across our culture, wherein the sufferer feels their successes are unearned and that at some point they will be outed as a fraud. This feeling leads the sufferer to devalue their work and miss elevating opportunities. First identified as “an imposter phenomenon” by psychologists in 1978, this trend was first recorded in a study of undergraduate and graduate women. The women believed they were overvalued by their peers and educators, despite empirical evidence of the validity of their work.
While the trend remains more commonly recognized among women than men, imposter syndrome can impact all people, leading to self-doubt, anxiety and burnout. TalentSpark is dedicated to the career growth of professional candidates and the success of our clients. We created a simple guide to letting go of imposter syndrome in order to strengthen your career.
1. Recognize That You’re Not Alone
We live in an increasingly competitive and high-visibility social landscape. While social media provides a great opportunity for networking and celebrating successes, it also adds fuel to the fire of imposter syndrome while hiding the reality that almost everyone suffers from this at some point in their lives and careers. In fact, being found to be incompetent is the leading fear among CEOs. Seek out people you admire to discuss their experiences with imposter syndrome. You will recognize that these feelings are not connected to your worth. The first step to letting go of imposter syndrome is recognizing that this is a widespread cultural phenomenon and not an indication of your actual value. When anxieties about your worth sneak up on you, try to decentralize yourself from the narrative.
2. Develop a Growth Mindset
When you feel less alone in your experience of imposter syndrome, you open yourself up to concrete tools to help overcome it. Developing what psychologist Carol Dweck refers to as a “growth mindset” shifts the self-believed imposter’s point of view away from assessing their performance and toward assessing what they’ve learned. You can apply this methodology to past, present and future projects and jobs. Take time to jot down what you’ve learned in past positions and assignments. Turn current and future projects into opportunities for further growth. This approach leaves you open to hearing constructive criticism as impersonal and empowering as opposed to evidence that you’re inadequate. Employers actually seek a growth mindset in candidates. A growth mindset demonstrates an ability to apply direction as well as self-guide your development.
3. Focus on Your Work (Not Your ‘Self’)
Imposter syndrome has a tendency to fuel itself through negative self-talk. While quieting that voice can be challenging at first, refocusing your attention to the work itself helps. Many people with imposter syndrome have difficulty accepting praise for a job well done. By making that praise about the work and not about yourself as a person, you begin to develop helpful objectivity. This objectivity translates to resume building and job interviews. Objectivity enables you to point to empirical results as opposed to feeling as though you’re selling yourself. When approaching a new task or position, the objectivity of work-focus allows your brain to shift its attention away from negative self-talk. With an objective approach, you can apply that growth mindset you’ve been building.
Strengthen Your Career with TalentSpark
TalentSpark is more than just a resource for finding a new job. We are recruiters who take a personal approach to career building. Our team will help you identify your skills and what you need in a career opportunity. We promise to find a role in which you’ll thrive. From our first meeting through the interview process and into your placement, your TalentSpark recruiter will provide the support and guidance you need to strengthen your career. Let yourself take the first step toward a confident career search and contact us at https://talentspark.com/job-seekers/.