Imposter Syndrome affects at least 7 out of 10 millennials. So how do we fight the scary mental block and stop it from taking up so much of our mental space?
If you've ever felt like you're not good enough or that you're a constant failure - whilst working like a busy bee, there's a big chance you're experiencing Imposter Syndrome. It presents itself as feelings of self-doubt and is very common among high-achieving women with perfectionist personality traits.
The emotional rollercoaster is so widespread that over 70% of successful women have experienced the fear of failure at least once at some point in their careers. And sadly, the prevalence of Imposter Syndrome and the fear of failure is having a huge mental health effect on professional millennials all over the country.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome is a psychological condition that makes people feel like 'a fraud'. If feelings of inadequacy, and an overwhelming sense of self-doubt sound familiar to you, then there's a big chance you're suffering from Imposter Syndrome. It's all too common in overachieving millennials who grew up comparing themselves to other 'more successful' influencers, colleagues, and friends on social media.
Growing up in a hyper-critical society has in some ways made digitally native young professional women, despite the evidence, often ignore personal achievements and overload themselves with worry that's irrational and bad for mental (and physical) health.
When we put a huge load of pressure on ourselves to be successful or set unrealistic goals, it can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and even burnout.
Do you have a fear of failure and struggle with imposter syndrome?
We know it can feel overwhelming, and beating Imposter Syndrome doesn't happen overnight. But, there are a few easy things you can do to start overcoming the Imposter phenomenon.
Recognize if you have perfectionist tendencies
The first step is self-awareness. Being afraid of failure and interpreting constructive criticism as an attack on your character is a sign of unhealthy perfectionism. Trying to be perfect is unrealistic - it's better to do a task well than spend hours stressing about getting it 100% right. Instead, try sharing your unfinished work with a colleague and get their feedback on how it's progressing to give you the confidence that you're doing a good job. Focus on progress, not perfection.
Set realistic expectations for yourself
Millennial women are very career-driven, and we often set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Even though you should DREAM BIG, focus on breaking down the 'big' goal into smaller achievable 'bites' and set realistic deadlines. Remember, goals are not achieved overnight, and if it takes a few extra hours to complete a project, it doesn't mean you've failed - it simply means you were diligent in completing the task. Be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back for finishing it!
Learn to be patient
One trait that often comes up for people with Imposter Syndrome is the lack of patience. Humans are naturally impatient so learning to be patient is an actual skill. Jennifer Stafancik, HubSpot marketing manager, advises to "Take the pressure off yourself and stop trying to be the expert on day one.”
Success in any job or project takes time and experience - and if your manager or client entrusted you with the task, they believe you have the skills to do it. Trust in this, and instead of being hypercritical of yourself if anything doesn't go to plan, ask yourself - what can I learn from this experience and do differently next time? That's a much healthier approach to overcome the Imposter Phenomenon.
Celebrate your achievement, however big or small
When you've had a 'win' at work, celebrate it! Recognize the effort you put into making the project a success and reward yourself for it. It might be signing a new client or closing a massive sale - whatever it may be, treat yourself to something that will boost your mood and make you feel confident about yourself. Reward hard work - it makes you feel more confident about yourself, and it shines through in your career - helping fight the Imposter Phenomenon.
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