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Imposter Syndrome: Have you heard about it? Suffered from It?

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 8:21am | by Helen Hoart

Imposter syndrome: the fear of being “found out” that you’re not as competent as people think you are. 

Typical imposter syndrome scenario:  Marta has worked at Company x for 3 years.  She also has excellent performance reviews.  Her supervisor taps her to run a new, very important project for the company.  She feels like she doesn’t deserve it.  And even though she takes the assignment, she’s afraid she’ll blow it and be found out to be a fake. 

Marta is not alone.  Some studies have found that nearly 70% of people have at one time or another suffered from imposter syndrome and if affects both men and women.

Feelings about being found lacking and incompetent can hinder your progress in all aspects of your life, not just work.

How to deal with imposter syndrome

Recognize it when those scary words start invading your head.  “Yes, I hear you saying I’ll probably fail, but I refuses to give in.”

Don’t fall into the perfectionist trap. No one is perfect.  Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Understand how your strengths will help you succeed.  Figure out what you will do to overcome your weaknesses.  For example,  Gwen has great verbal and written communication skills.  But financial spreadsheets scare her  Solution: Take a course at the community college or get one of the scores of books available on finance for non-financial managers.

Most important, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Asking for help does not equal being a failure.

We all have feelings of being inadequate from time to time.  But if we let those feelings rule our lives, we won’t reach our full potential.  


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