How to Beat Imposter Syndrome
Millennials are the largest generation in the work force, we've lived through and contributed to massive technological advances (and continue to do so) and yet so many of us struggle with feeling worthy, adequate and competent. My dad taught me a lot about what success meant to him in his time and generation--but I was left on my own to discover what success means to me (fuck today, fuck new york, fuck anyone else's standards or expectations). The workforce is changing from a vacuum that sucks in participants for 40 years and spits them out into beach homes in Florida. The workforce is full of young and hungry folks like us who are looking to get in, get out and do our own thing.
But we're stuck struggling with the expectations of a world and a society that hasn't quite caught up with who we are and how we need to operate. So we're sent mixed messages where we're praised for our independence and initiative but also highly criticized because our choices and outlooks are so different from what is still considered the safe standard or norm.
Imposter syndrome is really just anxiety with a fancy name. Anyone can succumb to the sometimes overwhelming pressure of being a responsible and contributing adult. What's key is that you 1. don't stop and 2. figure out a way to quell those fears. Here are five things you can do to beat Imposter Syndrome.
1. Keep a log of your success
In my most recent bout with Imposter Syndrome (yeah, me too), I relied on my success tracker ( a spreadsheet that maps my projects from day 1 here to present day), and took account of the assignments, projects and initiative's I'd started or contributed to. Being able to go back and see concrete evidence of what I'd earned, really helped get over that bout of insecurity.
2. Keep a work Journal
My Work Journal is so crucial to my success. It keeps me organized at work (I write everything down) and it also keeps me grounded. Aside from notes, I also have pep talks, journal entries and other records that help me manage my thoughts so I can put my worries (among other things) into perspective.
3. Stop comparing yourself to your peers
Sure, cut yourself off from social media for the week. But during that week, do the root work to become the sort of person who understands their unique purpose. Become the person who can see or hear an update from someone's life and know that A. you never have the whole story and B. even if you do, it's not your story. Be comfortable living a different life, treading a different path and adhering to no one else's timeline but your own.
Social media makes it easy to compare ourselves to others but the need to compare goes deeper than a double tap.
4. Be Proactive
As a customer success manager, my whole job is based on proactivity--I need to preempt problems and anticipate needs. I need to think a few steps ahead of the customer--and I try to think a few steps ahead on a personal level too. If you find that you're worried you can't do the job you're asked to do, or you won't know the answer to a question--fill your gaps. Learn the skill, find the answer. Don't just sit there and be miserable. Don't set yourself up to fail.
5.Set Yourself Up For Success
Until you're receiving the positive praise you need at work – give it to yourself. Too often we give into the negative voice in our head and we buy into the things that hold us back. Tell yourself the good things. Go from "God, I'm going to screw this up," to "If I make a mistake, XXX is the first thing I'll do to fix it." Imposter syndrome can come from or become a mindset. pushing yourself to entertain only positive, solution oriented thoughts and pulling yourself from away from doubt, worry and discouragement is the very first step into exemplifying your worth.