In this week’s podcast “You Don’t Know Me” we talked about feeling uncomfortable with our own skills at work. Do you ever feel like you are “faking it until you make it”? It’s so uncomfortable, isn’t it?! Imposter syndrome as referenced in the podcast episode this week is feeling this to the extreme. The term seems to be used generally these days when someone feels they are playing a part, and don’t feel confident in their work ability. The true definition is when someone feels this persistently, and in addition to feeling doubt in one’s skills, there is a fear of being exposed as a fraud. Most of us feel that way at some point in our career whether we are a novice or seasoned and you’re being tasked with something that feels out of your knowledge range. But where are you on the spectrum of being self-doubting and anxious versus consistently hiding your struggles and worried you are going to be “found out”. How paralyzing is this feeling?
It can feel like everyone is judging you and your self-esteem is at risk. It can feel like everyone is honing in on your imperfections. Maybe it’s really your internal voice being not so kind. It’s ok to make mistakes! We grow from them. It’s really true. It’s how we learn. It's also how we develop creativity, courage, and resiliency.
I go back to the idea of recognizing your strengths. Make a list. How many attributes, talents, skills, hobbies, characteristics can you come up with? No less than 10! Struggling? Ask a friend. Read an old evaluation (work, school). It is likely you are harsher on yourself than you need to be, and that others will be on you.
If you continue to do the same thing over and over with which you are familiar, you will feel truly capable, but you will remain limited, and perhaps unexcited, unsatisfied, and stuck. Embrace mistakes! Step outside of your comfort zone. Don’t deny yourself the wonderful feeling of witnessing your personal growth. And remember, those folks you see around you with the confidence and abilities you think you don’t have, well they were likely once unsure of themselves too.
If you want to hear more, check out "What Would Dr. Meyers Do", Episode 4.