Imposter syndrome, stop being an imposter


October 09, 2020

What is the definition of imposter syndrome: Psychological pattern into which an individual doubts their skills, talents, accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud I had my fair share of this as well when I switched careers and had to start at the bottom of the ladder as a programmer. I had no confidence and was scared to fail and look bad. So how can you overcome and prevent this?

Most of the time the imposter syndrome occurs when someone is starting fresh in their work field. It starts with avoiding looking bad, because of the lack of confidence. Let’s say you start a new job, everything is new for you. Imagine yourself just pretending that you know what you’re doing, but in fact, you have no idea. Not only does it cost a lot of energy to straight-up lie, it also makes you look unprofessional and ignorant. Like I mentioned in this article: The secret to feeling lightweight and agile.

What this does as well is closing you up for the possibility to learn, if you want to learn you’ll have to able to fail, and failing in that mindset is equal to looking bad. A side effect of this is the experts are not willing to coach you. That is not because they think you are already skilled, because you did such a good job as an imposter. No, you come across as stubborn and not coachable and they don’t want to spend any time on you.

The answer to this is: Be authentic and true to yourself, which is also the remedy for feeling like a fraud. It’s very simple, if you are being honest to yourself and being authentic, it’s not possible to feel like a fraud, because you are yourself. You won’t have to be afraid of people’s expectations because you set them by being honest.

That mindset of honesty and authenticity when stepping into a new skill or workplace requires courage. But it won’t go unnoticed and it will appreciated. It will attract the experts in the field that enjoy teaching and coaching. When you find that person, be sure to hold on to them for as long as you can. They will guide you in the right direction. So you don’t have to go down that failing path they already walked. It saves you a tremendous amount of time and exponentially accelerates the learning process. They are very valuable to you and are quite rare.

So how can you not feel fraudulent about your accomplishments? That is by putting those accomplishments in perspective. For the programmer with 10 years of experience, it was not an accomplishment, for me it was. Don’t compare them with other people’s accomplishments. A great tool is to make milestones for yourself and mark them as an accomplishment when you reach them. You can not feel fraudulent about that, since you are the one that set that milestone.

Be honest, let go of your ego, and make sure you keep growing.

Michael Awad

I'm fascinated by the power of a strong mindset. I combine this with being a web developer, which keeps me motivated. But how, you may ask? That's what I share on this website. For more information about me personally, check out the about me page: About Me

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