Imposter syndrome is common, but has a cure

Impostor syndrome is the constant and nagging feeling of inadequacy despite being qualified and having the necessary skills, competencies and experience.

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I keep getting important assignments at work and also get invited to important meetings, even though I’m in mid-level management. The problem is that every time this happens, I wonder what my bosses see in me because deep down, I doubt my ability, even though people around me keep complimenting me. Looking back, I’ve missed significant growth at work because I’m afraid of speaking up and speaking my mind in meetings. How can I start believing in myself?

Impostor syndrome is the constant and nagging feeling of inadequacy despite being qualified and having the necessary skills, competencies and experience. Most of the people who experience this are successful, and more often than not mobile upwards in their career and have notable accomplishments.

This syndrome debilitates an individual to a level where every success is attributed to luck, or assistance from others. The affected individual fears that they might not live up to the expectation placed on them. Does it improve your confidence when you get invited to important meeting by your seniors? This should boost your self-esteem because it is a demonstration that they can clearly see value in you. Consider listing all your achievements on a piece of paper, this might help you internalise your accomplishments and boost your confidence.

Share your fears with a trusted friend or colleague, you might be surprised to learn that they are also fighting the same demons, giving both of you an opportunity to find a solution together. Your bosses too probably sometimes suffer from feelings of inadequacy but still soldier on. Recognise that nobody is perfect and therefore you are work in progress.

Hearing about your achievement and progress from your supervisor is reassuring. Seek feedback from your supervisor on your performance and areas of improvement. This positive feedback will boost your self-esteem and build your confidence, which is what you are currently lacking. The areas earmarked for improvement will challenge you to develop a training plan to bridge the gaps.

This persistent feeling of inadequacy if not managed can affect your mental wellbeing and also drain you physically. In the long run, it can affect your health, therefore, take care of your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. If you feel overwhelmed, consider seeking the services of a counsellor or a psychologist to help you deal with this challenge.

The downside is that what you’re experiencing might also make you to procrastinate since you will avoid tasks that you have no confidence in doing. It might also make you miss out on opportunities since when you are invited for meetings, you fail to attend. This can hamper your career growth.

But every cloud has a silver lining, use this shortcoming to prepare adequately for meetings or other daily tasks, in the process standing out. This means you will upskill and continuously develop your leadership capabilities, which will influence your career growth positively.