We’ve all been there; in fact I feel like I’m there all the time. Imposter syndrome is real, in almost every industry. As we move up in our careers, tackle new challenges, or start to educate others, it sets in. We start to feel inadequate in our own world. It can be stressful and hurt your motivation. However, I want to challenge that stigma with you!
I don’t want to discount the fact that imposter syndrome is stressful. It is for me, which is why I needed to find a new way to frame it! For me, imposter syndrome is a sign of progress. When I speak with my peers about it, I say one simple quote:
If you haven’t felt imposter syndrome in awhile, it’s time to take on a new challenge.
Complacency is the enemy of progress and growth. Growth never happens within your comfort zone; it requires you to step out and try new things. To that end, when you take charge of something new, you’re going to feel like an imposter. Not because you don’t know what you’re doing or can’t accomplish the task. No, not at all. It’s more so because you haven’t shown yourself that you can master the task yet. Your mind doesn’t yet believe that you can do it, until you prove it to yourself. Embrace that imposter syndrome, charge forward, and tell yourself you can do it.
Coping with imposter stress
I’m not a professional here, but figured I’d share what works for me. It’s all well and good for me to say “embrace it.” However, that doesn’t change the fact that we’re still going to feel the associated stress. Let’s talk about dealing with that stress, or at least what I do.
- Step back. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I step back to take a view at a higher altitude. I review the steps of what I’m working on and ‘grade’ my progress. Often throughout this process, I realize that I am indeed handling this new challenge well and find small areas to improve. It adds confidence.
- Seek feedback. If I’m unsure of myself, I’ll reach out to a peer. Just a simple “hey give me your thoughts on this” can go a long way. The constructive feedback I get again improves my output while also showing me that I am indeed handling this new challenge well.
- Take breaks. This one is important. Standing up and walking around, our putting the new challenge away until tomorrow is totally acceptable.
That’s about all there is to it, for me. The point of this short post is to let you know that imposter syndrome can be a good thing when you work with yourself to show it as a sign of progress!