Did you know that studies have found that 70% of people have experienced imposter syndrome to an extent? And did you know that women in STEM may be more susceptible to imposter syndrome as minorities in the field? Imposter syndrome is when someone experiences feelings of self-doubt and thinks that their achievements and successes are undeserved or due to luck so they are a fraud. These feelings typically come and go but can have negative effects on an individual’s self-confidence and lifestyle. Read on to learn more about how to recognize behaviors associated with imposter syndrome and how to overcome it.
People experiencing imposter syndrome often:
- Do not feel confident enough to promote themselves for new or better opportunities. They may not apply for a promotion or award or publication because they don’t think that their work is good enough compared to others.
- Set really high expectations for themselves due to guilt from “tricking” everyone, which causes them to work too hard and experience burn-out.
- Procrastinate in certain tasks and deliverables because they think they lack competency to deliver satisfactory work.
When experiencing these feelings, it is important to realize that imposter syndrome is common, that you are not a fraud, and that every one of your successes was earned by your own hard work and effort. Here are some of the things that one can do to combat feelings associated with imposter syndrome:
- Acknowledge your thoughts and discuss them with someone whom you trust and are comfortable sharing with. Chances are that they have also experienced imposter syndrome and can share their own experiences. Realize that these feelings are common and no one is perfect.
- Find someone willing to act as your mentor who can provide you with regular feedback on your progress. Oftentimes, we downplay our achievements so naturally in our heads that it helps to hear about them from the perspective of others instead.
- Start a journal to document your successes and associated feelings of happiness and pride. When you start to doubt yourself, go back and read past entries about your achievements that make you who you truly are.
- Do not compare your abilities to those of others. Each of us has had a unique experience that has shaped who we are today. It is not fair to compare yourself with someone else who may have different educational, financial, or familial backgrounds compared to you.
- Be willing to adapt and grow slowly. Even if you don’t feel competent in a certain aspect today, don’t set unrealistic expectations that will burn you out; accept that development takes time and experience.
- Accept that it’s okay to make mistakes, as we only learn and grow from our failures into better persons.
Learn more about imposter syndrome here:
- Imposter Syndrome: What It Is & How to Overcome It (healthline.com)
- Imposter Syndrome | Psychology Today
About the Author
Amar Dabaja is an Electrical Hardware Engineer at Veoneer, where she designs passive safety electronics for automotive applications. Amar graduated from Lawrence Technological University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.