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Are You a Fraud? How Imposter Syndrome Might be Hampering Your Career

If you feel like your colleagues deserve their jobs, but that you have ended up in yours through lucky mistakes, you might have Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is the persistent feeling that you are a fake—even when your job outcomes show success. The irony of Imposter Syndrome is that it generally afflicts high-achieving professionals. Running in circles with successful professionals can make anyone feel insecure. While anyone can suffer from Imposter Syndrome, women and minorities are particularly susceptible to it. If you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome, here are some suggestions to realign your thinking

  1. Focus on contributions, not perfection. Perfectionism and imposter syndrome can go hand-in-hand. Do your perceived failures reflect realistic standards? If you have genuinely dropped the ball in some way, it’s most productive to see shortcomings as opportunities to grow, not disqualifying failures.

  2. Recognize the work of others—and your own. Notice and thank others for the ways they help projects succeed. Allow yourself to notice your own input as well. Making a habit of recognizing the good contributes to a healthy workplace and outlook.

  3. Seek out mentors. Having a mentor who is farther down your career path can help in untold ways. They have the perspective to discuss benchmarks of performance and success. They can be a trusted confidant with whom you can discuss your feelings of inadequacy.