How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

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Whenever I catch up with friends and family, the #1 question I get is: “How’s the new job going?” I usually give some sort of canned response like, “It’s so good – I love it!” when deep down inside, my feelings are much more complex and way more insecure. Friends, say hello to my very real case of imposter syndrome.

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Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s an irrational fear of being exposed as a fraud (when you’re most definitely not one). For me, I’m constantly in disbelief that I landed a job working for a major airline – like, are you sure you picked the right person? When I’m in meetings listening to my peers, I feel blown away by how brilliant they all are – like, holy crap, I feel so dumb. I know it sounds silly and I realize it’s completely unfounded, but sometimes these thoughts hit me like a ton of bricks and it takes a minute for me to snap out of it. Here’s how I push past the craziness:

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
I work with incredibly smart and talented people every day – people who are a whiz with numbers, or a pro at negotiations or hold a PhD in organizational behavior (like what does that even mean?!). The thought alone can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Instead of getting hung up on the qualities that you might lack, focus on your strengths. Whenever I catch myself shrinking in my seat, I think about about the expertise that I bring to the table (communications, writing, strategic thinking) and what I can do to move the needle.

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2. Know that you because people believed in you.
Most people have to jump through quite a few hurdles during the application/interview process. You’ve got to impress a recruiter, a hiring manager and most likely a few other people along the way. And it’s not limited through a single channel either – you’ve got to nail your cover letter,  your resume, your interview and for some positions, a practical application of your skills (i.e. writing assignments). By the time you land the job offer, it’s most likely not by mistake. You’re there because you wowed the right decision makers every step of the way – and that’s saying something!

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3. Turn your doubts in to drivers.
Let’s face it – we may never be able to completely silence the voice inside of us that says “you’re not good enough” or “someone else deserves your spot.” But we are able to control what we do with it. I’m learning how to not get consumed by these thoughts – instead, I let it fuel my drive and keep me focused. I worked hard to get where I am and it makes me want to work even harder to keep growing.

Do you ever struggle with the imposter syndrome? If so, how do you overcome the feeling? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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  1. Okay, first of all, you should be soooo proud of yourself because you’re an amazing blogger and have an amazing day job! Think of how incredible that is!!! You’re an inspiration to so many. I really aspire to be like you! I have felt the same way in my job because everyone around me IS SO SMART! But guess what? We have to put it into perspective: we have impressive degrees, too! And we’ve earned these jobs! I am so happy for you. Plus, you look fabulous in this dress!!!

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