Let’s paint a picture. It’s only a few hours before you meet with a potential employer. Suddenly, you experience a sinking feeling in your stomach.
You tell yourself that you aren’t good enough for this job, your past achievements are a by-product of luck, and you suspect that you will be exposed as a fraud at any moment.
No, you don’t have the flu—you’ve been inflicted with Imposter Syndrome—at the most inconvenient time imaginable. If you need to quickly dispel the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome ahead of an interview, we prescribe the following treatment plan:
A dose of reality defeats self-doubt
The “Imposter Phenomenon,” as defined by Dr Pauline Clance, is when an individual feels that their “achievements are undeserved and worry that they are likely to be exposed as a fraud.”
Feeling undeserving of your achievements can stem from excess humility. The fact that you are experiencing humility means you are humble more often than not, which is an admirable quality. Over time, however, you may find yourself instinctively dismissing praise and not taking any credit for your achievements.
While being humble is an exceedingly positive characteristic—and it’s very important to harness it throughout your career—you must also be wary of turning excessive modesty into a lack of confidence or belief in your ability.
Get into a habit of pairing each negative thought with a positive one. Before your interview, spend fifteen minutes reading your resume. The moment you think you aren’t good enough for the job, write down a reason why you are good enough for the job.
If you feel undeserving of praise for a project you completed at a previous company, outline all the things you worked on throughout that project and take note of the positive results that would not have happened without your expertise.
Combat negative self-talk with positive affirmation until the cycle reaches a healthy equilibrium. When it comes time for your interview, it’ll be easier to recite your list of achievements to your prospective employer with measured confidence.
Early exposure is healthy for you
Imposter Syndrome is akin to chicken pox, it is very likely you’ll get it at least once. And, it’s better to experience Imposter Syndrome earlier in life.
Insecurities about your competence can fester and hinder you from professional development. The overwhelming fear of inadequacy can prevent you from working toward a promotion or applying for new roles. Embrace the fact that confidence is just as healthy as humility—you need both if you want your employer to have faith in your skills.
Simply listing your achievements is only the first step to a cure. You must work on believing in your ability to learn, grow from mistakes, and competently complete tasks. It is critical for you to understand how to identify negative self-talk before your bouts of self-doubt prevent you from making career advancements later in life.
The sooner you identify Imposter Syndrome, the faster you can treat it with self-affirmations and positive mantras that will help combat the negative side-effects of the affliction.
Try to talk openly about Imposter Syndrome
From Academy Award-winners to Poet Laureates, clinical research suggests that at least 70 percent of people will experience Imposter Syndrome at least once in their lives.
It does not matter if you are applying for an entry-level position, or filling the role of CEO, Imposter Syndrome can happen to anyone. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Understand that the most accomplished and renowned individuals across the globe are going through what you are going through.
You might be surprised—sharing your battle with Imposter Syndrome may help someone else who may be struggling. Like healthy white blood cells, there is strength in numbers.
If you find yourself inflicted with a persistent strain of Imposter Syndrome, know that there is no greater remedy to self-doubt than reassurance from family and friends. Take comfort in knowing that positivity and support are contagions worth spreading.