At Designsensory, we take pride in investing and cultivating young talent, like interns, new college graduates, or people transitioning in their professional career. And we’ve found that most every creative, especially these new professionals, experience feelings of insecurity or undeservedness. This culmination of self-deprecating behavior called Imposter Syndrome can pop up during promotions, larger projects, meetings with public figures or a myriad of other times. What if I’m a fraud? What if I can’t do the job? Regardless of that inner voice, you can combat these feelings with reality, and here are a few ways to do so:
The temptation to compare yourself with others is one that expands beyond the workplace. Before you give way to it, remember that everyone has a different journey and experience. What may seem like a highly competitive background to you might not seem like it to others. The world we live in is about perspective. Just because your perspective can’t see a reason for your success does not mean you are not qualified for a promotion, a difficult project or something else that brings you more freedom and/or responsibility.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ve gotten where you are without leg work. Think on the things you’ve accomplished throughout your career, however long or short. Reframe your brain to see the successes as well as the failures. Although failure is a great learning experience, resist the urge to dwell on things of the past too long. Reread some encouraging messages or compliments, and take pride in knowing you learned from great mentors and are on your way upward.
If you’re like me, you overthink everything and start doubting the efficacy of your actual work. No one is suddenly going to wake up and realize you are not fit for your job. Trust in your boss to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Progressing is not being perfect at everything, but it certainly shows you have skills worth building on. Doubt is for the birds.
Now that you’ve tried to control the way you perceive yourself, talk to a close confidant about your thoughts. They will help put your mind at ease. They have worked with you, they know your ethic and your ability, and they will tell you the words you need to hear. Should they give you areas of improvement, file those away and work on them daily to boost your confidence. One more note: try to mentor someone. You’ll be surprised by the things you didn’t know you know.
Internalize your successes by repeating them out loud. If nothing else, embrace the fact that whether you feel like you deserve something or not, you have it. Take advantage of the opportunity and move on. Everyone at some point has been in your shoes, no matter how experienced they may seem. Take in the now and stop worrying about the past or the future.
If nothing else works, know that Imposter Syndrome is a symptom of success. It might be a long-term struggle to overcome your feelings, so don’t feel discouraged. Most importantly, be yourself and showforth a can-do spirit. I love this overused quote, allegedly by Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Hey, if you’re a fish and you’re not climbing a tree, you’ll be alright.