Imposter syndrome

“I am not good enough. I won't be able to do it. I don't deserve to be here. They will realise sooner or later that I am a fraud”.

Have you ever felt like that? If yes, you need to know about imposter syndrome.

The imposter syndrome is a collection of pessimistic feelings despite a very obvious success. People with these negative feelings believe that their own success is a matter of luck, instead of appreciating their own skills, knowledge and all the time, hard work and effort invested into achieving their goals.

Millions of women and men around the world (from high-level directors to brilliant students, very successful actresses or great software engineers) punish themselves with the imposter syndrome, and they are normally very demanding with themselves, as they always have in mind a todo list, which is almost impossible to accomplish. You wouldn't believe how many well-known & successful people, like Michelle Obama, suffer from imposter syndrome. Check it out in the next video.

These negative thoughts are especially common within the IT world. On the one hand, newbies feel overwhelmed with so many new technologies and tend to compare themselves with coding experts, who have many years of experience. Normal but wrong thoughts because who can run before learning to walk?

Frustrated woman in front of her computer

On the other hand, even coding experts still experience the imposter syndrome whenever they join new teams or start working on a new project. They occasionally feel there are tasks they won't be able to solve and here is when their insecure thoughts start torturing their self esteem once again.

Junior vs Senior developer image

Are you actually very lucky to work at that company? Will you get fired soon? You are lucky when you win the lottery but when you get a job, you have previously gone through an interview process, where you have proved that you can do it as you have the required skills and knowledge for it. It is not a matter of luck, it is a fact!

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent",

Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the questions that you might be wondering is how to overcome imposter syndrome? Here some ideas:

  • List some of your life achievements (they don´t need to be career-related): I learnt how to speak 2 foreign languages, I played football on a second league team, I got good grades at school, I got a job abroad, etc.
  • Celebrate every little achievement. Each of them will take you closer to your final goal.
  • Don't compare yourself with someone else, rather with how you were one year ago, for example. You will realise how much you have learnt and progressed, probably even more than expected and this will help you stop being so demanding with yourself.
  • Fear of failure? Why don't you turn it into something positive? Making mistakes is an opportunity to learn, grow and therefore, get closer to success.
  • Accept every applause and positive feedback you get and let yourself enjoy those moments.
  • Observe the situation from a compassionate perspective. Imagine someone you love is going through your same situation. Would you cheer him/her up to persist his/her dream or would you rather discourage him/her?

"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability",

Zig Ziglar

Try any or all of the previous tricks and you will gradually start beating the imposter syndrome and feeling more confident.

If you would like to know more about this subject, I recommend you to watch Lou Solomon´s Ted Talk. And don´t forget this: You are talented. You are capable. You belong!