Living With Impostor Syndrome

Have you joined an elite company? Maybe landed a promotion or been chosen to lead a new project? Are you convinced that you don’t deserve any of this? If you answered yes, you may be experiencing impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome is an experience of doubting your accomplishments and feeling like a fraud. You dismiss your achievements as a product of luck, timing or other factors beyond your control. Because of this mindset, you feel your successes are undeserved.

Early research claimed that impostor syndrome is prevalent among women, but recent studies show that it affects all genders in fairly equal numbers. Impostor syndrome doesn’t discriminate among industries either, tech included. Impostor syndrome may even be on the rise for tech workers, due to today’s demand for talent and the growing competition in the field. Engineers on Blind have already shared their own experiences of feeling like a fraud, particularly those working at today’s top tech companies.

What’s Causing Your Confidence to Drop?

Identifying the source of your self-doubt is an initial step in managing impostor syndrome. There are a number of reasons why the syndrome can show up, including:

Working with talented people and comparing yourself to them

Venturing into new and unfamiliar territory

Receiving a generous compensation without increased responsibilities

Ways to Deal With Impostor Syndrome

Once you’ve identified the source of your self-doubts, you can take the appropriate actions to cope. Here are some steps that people suffering from impostor syndrome have found helpful:

Remind yourself of past achievements and the work you’ve put in to get to where you are. Celebrate present wins too, no matter how small. This will help you reaffirm your worth and allow you to embrace the fact that you played a vital role in your own successes.

Adopt a growth mindset, especially when faced with new tasks and situations. Know that initial failure is common when pursuing new ventures, but keep in mind that you will improve with time and effort.

When it comes to compensation, understand that your pay does not always correlate with your responsibilities, your worth or even your performance. Factors beyond your control, including a company’s financial health and the market, can significantly influence your compensation.

Another helpful way to manage impostor syndrome is to take solace in knowing that you’re not alone. Many people experience moments of feeling like a fraud, successful people included.

The amount of times it takes for impostor syndrome to fade away varies. For some it may only take a few months, for others it may be years. The bad news is that once it’s gone, impostor syndrome can return. While there is no guaranteed way to keep impostor syndrome at bay, you can learn how to live with it: Identify what’s shaking your confidence and take the necessary steps to address your self-doubt. If and when impostor syndrome knocks on your door again, you’ll know who it is and you’ll be better equipped to deal with this uninvited guest, with the least amount of disruption to your daily life.

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