Imposter Syndrome - Let’s treat it well.
Imposter syndrome is the constant self-doubt one feels irrespective of the success one has achieved, the hard work one has done, (or doing), and the talent one has.
After spending a few hours together, I met a friend after years, and she concluded that I have imposter syndrome. Let’s start from the beginning. I have been writing for almost six years on and off. But I *still* feel weird when I call myself a writer.
Nothing on the career; it just feels like I should hit some bars before I call myself a writer. When I met my friend more than a year ago, she suggested how I could make so much money from my skills. I gave some bad excuses it seemed that she ended up calling me stupid and asked me to swallow the pill for once and just get started.
There is one thing that my brother says - “everyone has it, some are two steps ahead of you and have got better at hiding, and some (mostly you) are fighting with it.” You don’t have to fight with everything that comes your way. Accept it, see how you can live with it, and don’t let it affect your career.
Fast forward to 2022, I write professionally and personally - take projects even when a little voice tells me you are not qualified. I sometimes even call myself a writer. Do I still have imposter syndrome? Yes, for sure. Do I let it stop me? NO.
Before we move forwards, let’s understand what imposter syndrome is.
Imposter syndrome is the constant self-doubt one feels irrespective of the success one has achieved, the hard work one has done, (or doing), and the talent one has. There is this constant feeling that makes you think that you are a fraud.
It’s like a trap you make for yourself where any certificate, recognition, or appreciation fails to prove ( to yourself) that you are not a fraud but an expert in whatever you are doing.
What has changed now?
Recently I decided to do coding full time, and I realized that writing and coding make me feel the same way. But I learned a lesson - every experienced writer and coder goes through the same process. The difference between them and those who don’t make it is the determination to keep doing even when they see almost no result.
A simple one-word solution is - consistency.
But yes, it’s not that easy. Let’s see what you can do to make it better for yourself.
5 ways to overcome the imposter syndrome -
Be consistent and keep the following mentioned in your mind, and you will see the difference.
#1 You don’t have to be perfect.
The significant difference between people with imposter syndrome and those without it is that the latter takes the chances even if they are not qualified. However, the former gets stuck in the trap of perfectionism.
According to slate, women are less likely to apply for the job if they don’t match 100% criteria; however, men will give it a shot if they match 60%.
Understand that most recruiters are not looking for the perfect candidate since they know the perfect candidate will expect promotion much faster, is usually overqualified, and has difficulty settling with the team.
So, next time you apply for jobs, apply for all the jobs where you match 70% criteria - you are not perfect, but you are more than suitable for the role.
#2 Celebrate your accomplishments.
Celebrating your accomplishment makes you feel like you have done something worth celebrating. It helps in boosting confidence. You feel confident about your skill, which is required to overcome the fear.
#3 Confidence wave? Journal it.
Everyone who goes through imposter syndrome also has moments of extreme confidence. That’s the time when you can start believing in yourself and start a change. How can you do it? Journal. Write how you feel, how your day went, what part of the work makes you feel confident, and why. Write all of it. The documentation of these moments helps when you go through the low days.
#4 Dress and act on the part.
Fool yourself for a while and see how your brain will believe you. This is what happens when you feel like an imposter. So, reverse it. Tell your brain that you will not do the whole thing, only start it and see if it’s something you can do.
The best part is it’s easy to keep moving when you are already in motion.
#5 Find inspiration and role models.
I read a lot of biographies and love reading them. Reason? You get to see how each one of the intelligent, famous world changers went through some doubts. What’s the difference between them and us? It’s the consistency. We fail to take the first step.
What did I change?
Even now, when I take on any project, I write the sample first, get the momentum, and let the client decide if they want to go ahead or not. Is it the right way? No. But it’s better than not even trying and keep doubting yourself. I have gotten plenty of projects and completed them gracefully (did I just compliment myself? Yes, I am learning). It has also helped me with the confidence to provide the paid sample.
Small steps and consistency help you in the long run.
There were a few patterns I noticed and decided to change them. Some lies we all are telling ourselves -
- I don’t have any particular skill - Throwback to my first-ever conversation with Akash. Attaching a screenshot below and see how much I have struggled with the imposter syndrome.
Sorry to show the light mode, but Twitter looks nicer in light mode on iPhone.
Good thing? I didn’t stop. I had only 2 issues until that time. Now I have around 10 issues, and finally, I have a Peerlist profile - it can be used as a simple resume or a complete portfolio to showcase your proof-of-work.
My reason for making a peerlist profile is - It gets you instant feedback & now I code as well means I can even integrate my GitHub profile.
- I don’t have enough experience - You will only get experience when you join and work. 1-year experience is more than enough. Yogini explained beautifully how she started as a startup cofounder and learned so many things on the way. An inspiration for all of us. Just like I mentioned, a real-life journey inspires on another level.
- I am not good enough - You are. No one will waste their time on you if you are not good enough. Remember, if a client or manager appreciates your work, you have done an excellent job.
So what you can do is to start and remind yourself that nobody has figured it out.