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Do you self-doubt?
Early in my career, my manager repeatedly used to tell me two things, “Speak out, and never minimize your success.”
Thanks to the manager who was indirectly helping me to cope with a syndrome known as “impostor syndrome.”
Impostor syndrome is a feeling of self-doubt—self-doubting our own competence and intelligence despite all the achievements we have made.
Let me be frank, these feelings are not completely gone; well, they can’t be, as I’m still learning. But there is a furtherance, and hence I’m here.
So don’t worry if you have ever thought like this:
“I don’t actually deserve the job and accomplishments.”
“I’m going to be found out soon.”
“Do I really deserve all these appreciations, or are they just doing some favor for me?”
The perceived fraudulence: I’m being praised for what I don’t actually deserve.
I was a perfectionist and an equally anxious person. I craved every bit of information before presenting or doing something.
I never said no to opportunities in hand. But I always downplayed the accomplishments, devaluing my own contributions. And even after important milestones in my career, it was hard for me to accept congratulations.
Of course, those ovations boosted my dopamine. After all, who would be there disliking acknowledgments and appreciations?
But, at the same time, I had this false belief that “it was all some kind of luck, and I don’t deserve all these appreciations.” Even while being confident of my work, I felt like people around me were more knowledgeable than me in my field and I had a lot more to learn and improve.
A perceived fraudulence was developing within me that played a “I don’t know as much as they think I know, and I’m going to be found out very soon” conversation in my head on repeated mode. I felt like I’m being praised for what I don’t actually deserve.
That perceived fraudulence was nothing but a miniature version of impostor syndrome, though I became aware of this jargon name four years ago. Didn’t even know that 70 percent of people actually suffer from this syndrome at some point in life. (Yes, it’s a common phenomenon.)
We may not be able to get rid of the impostor waves completely, but we have to move forward without being constantly beaten by those hard waves.
This is probably the only syndrome that helps in giving the best if handled in a nice way.
Here’s how to learn to think like a non-impostor:
1. Just speak out.
Whenever you have to share something, just speak out. Don’t wait till you make it perfect. Overcome your mind blocks and challenge your self-doubts. People around you have got their own business and they are not there to mock you. If you think it’s unworthy to share that valuable piece now, tomorrow you might hear it from someone else.
2. Don’t minimize your success.
Minimizing your success serves none. You reached there after a lot of handwork, patience, and work ethics. You are more competent than you think. Don’t attribute your success to luck. Own your failures, and realize that owning your success is equally important.
Perceptions may not always reflect reality such as this perceived fraudulence or impostor syndrome.
So if you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome or something like it, pat your shoulders and know that you are way beyond the ordinary. Because impostor syndrome itself is a sign of dreaming big where you can’t settle on the banks of mediocrity and lie relaxed.
Self-acceptance is the best way to overcome the impostor cycle. Give your best, recognize your strengths, and be proud of yourself!