Impostor Syndrome 101: Are You Sabotaging Your Own Career?

Impostor syndrome is the creepy feeling of inadequacy that happens to the best of us. Even the legendary Maya Angelou struggled with thoughts that someday people would find out she was a fraud and not that talented.

 

(Image: iStock/martin-dm)

 

You Don’t Have to Believe Everything You Think

 

The key to tackling impostor syndrome is to recognize the thoughts and behaviors that are preventing you from becoming your best self.

Here are a few ways you may be undermining your success and tips for getting out of your own way.

1. Procrastination – Oftentimes delaying or postponing your goals is a sign you’re afraid of failing or not getting the support you expect.

Fix: One way to stop self-sabotage is to shift your mindset. Fear is a natural part of the human experience; accept it as part of the process for success.

2. Not speaking up for yourself during meetings

Fix: Confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger you become. Ask for the meeting agenda ahead of time so you can prepare to ask questions and provide your thoughts on topics. 

3. Not sharing your work

Fix: Every next level of your life will require that you expose yourself to a new series of mistakes. Adopt an experimental mindset and look at everything as a test and opportunity to gather feedback which improves your ideas. Even major companies use this tactic to test the waters with their audience. For instance, Facebook started in 2004 on a Harvard University campus. Even with much success, Facebook features are still tested with a small audience and they gather feedback before it becomes fully available to a wider audience.

4. The blame game and a focus more on the negative than positive

Fix: When it comes to getting ahead, many people put too much blame on outside factors, like competitors, lack of time, resources, etc. But the reality is it could be you who needs to get out of your own way. Train your mind to find the good in every situation. Instead of saying, “Why is this happening to me?” say “What is this trying to tell me? What can I learn from this?”