You’re a fraud.
Those are the words I repeated to myself the first day of my new job. I had made the leap from working for a TV show to the studio at an ad agency.
Though I was excited for my first day and week on the job, I couldn’t get over the fact that I felt like I didn’t belong.
Over time I began being promoted within the company, but this feeling kept coming over me with each promotion. “You don’t deserve this. They’ll find out you’ve been faking this whole time.
You’re a fraud.
Wherever I’ve been in my career, whether it was my first internship, my first PA gig, my first time as a leader or a manager, I feel like I’m a phony. Like I don’t belong and that everyone can see right through me.
Though I hustle and make sure I’m working as hard or harder than everyone around me, this feeling persists.
The old adage for those starting out in their career is, “fake it til you make it.” But how do you balance projecting confidence in your job, with the feeling that all you’re really doing is faking?
Until recently, I wasn’t aware there was a term for this. It’s called “impostor syndrome.” It was incredibly reassuring to find out there was a name for this type of thinking. Not only that, but a lot of successful people have struggled with this during their careers.
Being an artist is an incredibly sensitive profession – one that opens a lot of doors to feel like an impostor.
It’s tough feeling like an impostor. You never feel fully comfortable with yourself or your co-workers, or audience because you feel like you can be found out at any second.
As WikiPedia states, “Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women, while others indicate that men and women are equally affected.”
If you feel this way, what are the best ways to overcome feeling like an impostor? Here’s a fantastic video on how best to deal with this feeling:
There’s no simple answer to treating the syndrome but looking at the evidence using CBT and self-awareness can help, as can mindfulness. Learn not to fear success and enjoy it, even if this is easier said than done. Finding a way to channel pressure. This may not rid you of impostor syndrome but it will certainly help you to manage it.”
Have you ever felt the impostor syndrome? How did you deal with it?