A significant number of technical professionals believe that their career success is accidental. Even employees of large, well-known IT companies share this opinion.

How can you learn to identify and deal with imposter syndrome while assessing your knowledge and skills accurately?

Imposter Syndrome Explained

Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that plagues individuals, making them constantly doubt their abilities and feel unworthy of their achievements. They cannot recognize and acknowledge their true worth and the deserving rewards of their hard work.

This phenomenon has different levels and can appear temporarily as a result of certain changes in your personal or professional life, or it can be long-lasting and worsen over time. That’s why it’s necessary to identify it and work with it, as it can become an obstacle to your professional development.

How to deal With Imposter Syndrome? 10 Key Steps

Learning to trust yourself and the results of your efforts is a job that takes time and commitment, along with the recognition that no one is perfect. In this sense, continuing to learn, no matter how old you are, is one of the best ways to gain this confidence. Here are essential steps you should take to tackle the imposter syndrome: 

Examine the evidence and learn from the facts

If tests show that you are good at your job, why not believe it? The idea is to eliminate the cognitive distortions that contribute to the imposter experience. What facts ensure that your efforts and abilities are getting you where you need to be?

Celebrate your successes

People who suffer from imposter syndrome often think that their successes are the result of luck, mistakes, or outside help. Even if you were lucky or had outside help, success is still yours. Accepting this fact is a big step. It’s healthy to try to deal with feelings of guilt and celebrate your achievements. If you receive a compliment, the first step is to notice what your behavior looks like.

Remember that many people feel this way

Imposter syndrome is widespread, but rarely talked about; everyone feels like they are keeping a secret. Psychological research conducted in the early 1980s estimated that 70% of people feel like impostors at some point. Some studies point to over 80% today. In fact, the very people you fear will expose you as a fraud probably feel like frauds themselves.

Give up toxic perfectionism

There is no need to lower the bar, but it’s important to adjust standards and expectations, paying more attention to the progress and personal values that guide you or make you want to act in life.

Cultivate a kinder inner dialogue

Try to be more compassionate to yourself, starting with compassion for others — science and practice have repeatedly shown us that this is a key. A more clear and kind communication helps to reduce the toxic and counterproductive dialogue associated with imposter syndrome. Observe how the impostor’s feelings are manifesting and pay attention to how they are responding to respond in a better way.

Share your feelings

Sharing feelings can help with impostor syndrome by providing validation and support, reducing feelings of isolation, and offering perspective from others who may have experienced similar struggles.

Share and learn from failure

Comparisons often highlight the worst in one aspect and the best in another, leading to self-doubt. Sharing and analyzing the lessons gained from mistakes can help you embrace your unique path and set comparison aside. Embracing self-compassion and maintaining a positive internal dialogue can also help in coping with such challenges.

Practice self-perception

Self-perception is not the same as self-esteem. Self-perception refers to how individuals perceive and interpret themselves, including their thoughts, feelings, abilities, and personality traits. It plays a fundamental role in decision-making and interactions with others, as it influences how you view yourself in relation to the world around you.

Keep your humility

It’s okay to get a little imposter syndrome at times. It keeps you motivated to keep learning and working hard. But don’t let your doubts stop you from going for a big promotion or enjoying your successes.

Accept imposter syndrome

Building psychological flexibility involves acknowledging and accepting the feelings associated with imposter syndrome. By recognizing that this phenomenon is a common experience and embracing its presence, you can foster greater resilience and growth.

You can start by trying out some of the strategies listed above — go at your own pace and reflect how you feel while implementing each strategy. 

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