Have you had a recurring statement playing in your head like a broken record, saying:
“You can’t do it”
“You will never be good enough” or maybe
“You don’t deserve this recognition, position, award, room, etc.”
That’s probably Imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talent or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.
I have experienced this on many occasions. In the past, I rarely got into teams, because I felt that I may lead to the downfall of the team whenever I was assigned a task to carry out, I’d hide and soon I became a shadow. Gradually this evolved into self doubt. However, I learned that it was possible to overcome this imposter syndrome, because I did overcome mine.
How did I overcome my imposter syndrome?
- Learning by doing: I usually just watch lots of online tutorials and instead of practicing it on my system I just don’t bother, I just assume that I can do it just because I watched a tutorial. When faced with an actual task requiring that skill, imposter syndrome sets in and I panic because I didn’t practice. So, for every tutorial I take, I make sure I put in work to practice it. Practice gives you confidence and helps you cement your skills and knowledge.
- Getting a mentor: I got a mentor and told him about my goals and struggles with imposter syndrome. He helped me by giving me weekly routing/projects to execute. This helped me learn, practice even more, and build my portfolio. From this experience, I learned that with more experience and body of work, you build confidence in your skill.
- Getting a mentee: Yes, I had a mentor who mentored me but it didn’t stop there for me, I also got to mentor someone. The person needed my knowledge and wanted to learn from me, so I shared what I knew and helped someone become better too, teaching them as much as I knew. Mentorship comes with responsibility and with that in mind I had to make sure I put in the serious work in order to be a miles ahead of my mentee.
- Being a co-lead at I4G: Here, I had to build a community. With this responsibility I learned what it meant to be a leader. Leadership is service. This means I have to do more, show up for my community, be dependable and be exemplary. Putting in the work has changed my mindset and I look at my community whenever imposter syndrome lurks in my head and say… “those are my people, they remind me that I am awesome and a good leader, so you can no longer live rent-free in my head”.
Imposter syndrome can happen to anyone just as it did to me, but the good news is that one can overcome it with sheer belief in oneself; learning by doing, getting a mentor, joining a team. These are some of the things that have helped me overcome imposter syndrome. I hope they help you too.
If you need an amazing community to be part of, join the I4G Network.