Imposter Syndrome was one of the topics that my newsletter subscribers brought up this month. It’s an interesting topic because I kinda struggle with it and I kinda don’t. These days, I often find myself being overly optimistic about my abilities and impatient about my goals and outcomes. However, I have felt like a failure or not good enough many times throughout my life and these feelings have made me doubt myself and my worth.
Today, I share 3 ways that I personally overcome imposter syndrome.
Apply for jobs even if you only meet 50% of the qualifications
Many of you have probably seen statistics or stories about men vs. women applying for jobs when barely meeting the qualifications. When talking to managers, I’ve heard that candidate who meet 100% of the job qualifications aren’t actually ideal because then there isn’t really any room for growth on the team.
Based on personal experience, I believe you should apply for a job when you meet these 3 criteria:
- The job, team, and company are all very interesting to you
- You have transferrable skills or experiences that are relevant to the job or team
- You believe you can learn in the areas that you currently lack
#1 – Take job hunting very seriously and only consider taking the time to apply for a job if the team, company, and industry are all interesting to you. Remember not to mass apply to jobs, it’s a waste of time!
#2 – You would be surprised by how transferrable your skills are even if you’re in a role or industry that you think is completely irrelevant to the one you want to be in. Check out LinkedIn Career Explorer to see common skills and potential career paths you’ve never even thought of.
#3 – A growth mindset is needed to prove to yourself and the hiring manager that you have the potential to take on the role without 100% of the qualifications. Come up with examples of how you have exceeded expectations and tried new things in the past (a career walking deck is a great way to do this). This can help convince the hiring manager to take a bet on you.
Remind yourself that YOU were chosen for this opportunity
When in doubt, give yourself a pep talk. If you have a huge project or opportunity and you’re starting to doubt your abilities, remember that your manager or team chose you for a reason. You were chosen to do this because other people believe in you and your abilities to get the job done.
Whenever you’re presented with a new opportunity or challenge, don’t be afraid to ask your stakeholders why they thought of you in the first place. It can be very encouraging to hear these words of affirmation.
Also remember that you’re not in this alone and that it is OK (even encouraged) to ask for help. Even if you are taking the lead, people are there to support and help you succeed as well. You just need to be brave enough to ask!
Talk to people who’ve been there, done that
There are always going to be things that you don’t know. Once you’ve been given a project and know what the goals are, figure out who you can connect with to learn more about how the project has been run in the past. This can be super useful in getting the context and history around the work you’re about to do, and you can also get great tips and mistakes to avoid!
An easy way to do this is to ask around and network with your stakeholders and predecessors. Set up a coffee chat and have some questions prepared around the project:
- How did you run things in the past?
- What worked well vs. didn’t?
- Any tips? What is important to keep in mind as I take this on?
TLDR: You’re awesome, so act and perform like it!
What I’ve learned is that doubting yourself doesn’t really get you anywhere. It causes stress and anxiety and is a waste of energy that is better spent on hyping yourself up and finding ways to do a great job. Try journalling if you need to get those unproductive thoughts out of your head, but then move on and focus on the goal that you want to achieve.
Your mental health is important in doing great work and performing at your best, so look for ways to practice mindfulness or talk things out with a therapist or coach. Put yourself first and remember that confidence comes from proving to yourself (and others) that you can do what you’ve set out to achieve.
See my other “Work Life” related blogs below!