When it comes to starting out in the work world, many young people adopt聽鈥渇ake it 鈥檛il you make it鈥 as their聽motto. But for people with impostor syndrome, this idea is easier said than done. If you鈥檝e ever felt like your job was too much to handle and that you soon would be exposed as not really knowing what鈥檚 going on at work, you鈥檝e experienced it. It鈥檚 understandable that when things get tough on the job, you start to doubt yourself, and that鈥檚 how impostor syndrome creeps in and takes over. Maybe you made a big mistake at work聽or you feel like your boss hates you, and suddenly you鈥檙e wondering if you鈥檒l ever be good enough to be successful or you鈥檙e in the wrong job altogether.


If this sounds familiar, here鈥檚 some good news: This phenomenon is so common that researchers decided to study how the聽impostor phenomenon聽affects us at work by surveying a group of over 250 people about their career聽achievements and experiences with feeling like a fraud at their jobs. Based on their results, the researchers estimate that 70 percent of people feel this way at some point during their career. Interestingly, the study demonstrated that this feeling of being 鈥渇ake鈥 or believing that you鈥檙e out of place in your role is normal among high achievers but actually inhibits them聽from reaching their full potential. The researchers believe this is because those who experience impostor syndrome are lacking one major thing: confidence in their talent and abilities.

The easiest way to fix it if you鈥檙e thinking you might be suffering from impostor syndrome?聽Work on your confidence and self-esteem. Here are four simple steps to quieting your inner critic and conquering the impostor phenomenon.


1. Identify it properly. It鈥檚 important to understand why you鈥檙e having these feelings of being a fraud, explains Building Giants Founder and President Katy Caselli, an organizational psychologist. She recommends this self-scored assessment, created by聽Dr. Pauline Clance, as a starting point. Clance is one of the two psychologists who coined the term 鈥渋mpostor syndrome鈥 back in 1978, so she鈥檚 pretty much the authority on this.

2. Set goals. One of the first things you should do to build up your confidence and get back on track is to clearly define your career objectives. 鈥淲rite them out and remind yourself of them often,鈥 suggests聽Katy. 鈥淭his will help you dismiss fearful thoughts in favor of reaching those goals.鈥 If you鈥檝e got your eyes on the prize, you鈥檒l have聽less time to spend doubting yourself!

3. Keep track of your accomplishments and praise. Sometimes, people who feel like they鈥檙e not good enough for their job will chalk up their successes to luck or someone else鈥檚 doing, and Katy points out that this can be really harmful. 鈥淭he reality is that you did put in work, you influenced others, you 鈥榳on鈥 the opportunity,鈥 she encourages. 鈥淐ount the education you have, the skills you have learned and the people who are on your side. Notice the times you do not let fear stop you. You can download a journal app to your smart phone and record your successes聽daily.鈥 In addition, it can be helpful to save any positive notes you get about your performance. 鈥淕o back to these聽when you feel like a fraud. The evidence of your achievements will remind you that more accomplishments are ahead! Post some of these聽where聽you can see them聽daily, and add to your collection聽each time you receive some positive comment about your work.鈥

4. Fake it. Yup, even those with impostor syndrome can do this. When you鈥檙e doubting yourself, pretend that you鈥檝e got things 100 percent under control. Eventually you鈥檒l grow to actually believe in your own abilities and won鈥檛 have to fake it. 鈥淎s you become used to this and gather more and more successes, you still may feel like a fraud occasionally, but you will also not let it easily stop you,鈥 explains Katy. 鈥淐atch yourself making negative comments about your abilities (both out loud and in your head) and spend the time you need to feel prepared. It does get easier to ignore the fearful, self-critical thoughts.鈥

Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? How did you overcome it? Tell us @BritandCo!聽

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