How to Combat Imposter Phenomenon
Last updated August 21, 2023
We’ve all been there - doubting ourselves, our abilities, or our place at work or in school. You just landed a great job or internship. You just enrolled in the college of your dreams. You got a promotion at work. But you’re still not able to shake those feelings that you don’t belong! This is a normal feeling, but did you know it even has a name? When you experience imposter phenomenon (also known as imposter syndrome), you doubt yourself, your capabilities as a student or employee, or maybe even your self-worth.
These feelings are especially common amongst first-generation college students, gender minorities, and youth of color, who work or study in predominantly White spaces, and who face additional systemic challenges such as bias and exclusion in their journeys. As disheartening as these feelings are, they are common - you are not alone! There are tools to combat them and remind yourself that you deserve everything you have and that your presence in every space matters. Here are a few of our tips to combat imposter phenomenon and gain back some self-confidence!
Ask for help.
Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Reach out to your bosses, coworkers, or professors when you need a helping hand, or reassurance. Not only will their guidance give you more confidence in school and work, but it will highlight your dedication and value to what you do.
Build your self-confidence.
This is easier said than done, and will take practice over time. The more confident you are in yourself and your capabilities, the easier it is to feel valued in your work and studies. Our piece on building self-confidence is a great place to start!
Take time for yourself to reflect.
Imposter phenomenon can weigh heavily on your mind and body, and it’s important to remember to take time for yourself to reflect on your experiences and feelings. This practice isn’t easy but can give you more clarity and understanding the root of these feelings. We recommend taking this time to try bullet journaling, meditating, or seeking free mental health resources available to you.
Join a community for extra support.
Imposter phenomenon cannot only be addressed or fixed at the individual level. We all must work in community to create a culture that addresses systemic biases and challenges that leave us feeling “othered” or unworthy of taking up space. Only by doing so, can we reduce experiences that lead to us feeling like imposters.
Sites like Reddit and Facebook have great communities you can join for free to learn more about imposter phenomenon and others’ experiences with moving beyond it. Linkedin is also a great place to get advice and support from experienced professionals in the workforce.