How Imposter Syndrome Can Affect Your Career

Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? It could be a job you have or a group of friends you’ve been hanging out with. Nothing outwardly hostile makes you feel this way, just a nagging feeling that won’t quite go away. If this is you, don’t worry because it’s reported that over 70% of Americans will experience this phenomenon at least once in their lives.

Coined in 1978, Imposter Syndrome causes individuals to lose confidence in the legitimacy of their achievements and fear that they will be exposed as a fraud as a result. Imposter Syndrome can have negative consequences on our personal lives and our careers. But what can we do to combat this?

Do I Feel Like an Imposter?

Trying to nail down whether you suffer from Imposter Syndrome can be difficult at first. A healthy person has a balance of realistic confidence and doubts. Over time, we learn what we are good at, and what skills aren’t quite as sharp. But someone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome has an over-inflated sense of doubt and may constantly stress over not meeting expectations or avoid extra responsibilities as a result. They may assume their success is the result of an outside source, may deflect success to another source, or go overboard with goal setting and set unrealistic expectations.

What Does it do to My Career?

Imposter Syndrome can create major problems on your career and in regards to long-term goal setting. Someone who constantly underestimates their worth or is frightened to take chances hampers their own ability to grow. This person may not ask for a raise or apply for the promotion that they deserve. Essentially, you can become paralyzed and just accept the state you currently reside in.

How do We Fight This?

The first thing a person who suffers from Imposter Syndrome is talk with a person or mentor they trust. An outside view can help you distinguish between what you perceive and reality. Some people report that documenting achievements or recognizing completed goals can reaffirm a person’s confidence in themselves. The practice of reciting words of affirmation in front of a mirror has even been proven to help, as they help a person “manifest their greatness.”