Impostor syndrome? What is that? Do you pretend to be someone else? In a way, I am. No matter what I do, I keep thinking that I am pretending to be something that I am not. My success in whatever I do in life is based on purely lucky circumstances. My success is not actually merit-based.
That is what impostor syndrome feels like. It is also something that a lot of successful women experience. It is completely irrational and, no matter how often people tell you that you deserve your success, you don’t believe them.
I have personally come into contact with this feeling as I am simultaneously a grad student and have my own web design business. On the one hand, people expect me to be an expert in my field of study – literature. I am getting a PhD after all, so why would I not be an expert? On the other hand, I have my own business. I am accountable for everything that happens at Preschiato Design. I am responsible for my customers’ happiness because I am taking their money for my services.
Impostor syndrome is a difficult thing. Most of the time, you’re laughing about it. I laugh about it a lot because I do not consider myself to be an expert in literature or web design. However, I have to be. Otherwise, my career choices would never work out. I would forever be unhappy with everything I do because I think I don’t deserve it.
So what should you do?
Since it doesn’t help when other people tell you how much you have achieved in your job and in your life, you need to tell yourself how far you have come. But simply telling yourself is usually not enough either. What can you do? Write it down. Write down every single you have achieved and make it a reoccurring thing. It doesn’t matter if you do it daily, weekly, or monthly. It all depends on what you need.
Once the period of time you have chosen has passed, sit down and write down everything you have achieved in that time. If you have it black on white, you’ll see how much you can do and you will be reassured that your success is based on your actions. To take it one step further, you can also create for the upcoming days or weeks and measure your actions based on this list.
Do you suffer from impostor syndrome? How do you deal with it?