Imposter Syndrome: Learning what it is to overcome it

According to Forbes, it is estimated that 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. For many recent graduates, entering the workforce is an entirely new ball game that they may not feel prepared for. Thus, evoking a feeling of confusion and insecurity. Zachary Ruhl, Marketing Strategist, Acenda, explains his recent experience as a graduate in search of a role.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Merriam Webster defines imposter syndrome as a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success.

The Undiscussed Effects of Imposter Syndrome

Zachary explains his difficulty getting through graduation knowing that his peers had full-time work lined up and he didn’t. “It really took a toll on my mental health knowing that everyone around me had, what seemed like, everything figured out,” he says.

“I kept applying to positions I felt like I was qualified for and no one was taking me on to their team. I began to think I wasn’t worthy of obtaining a great job,” says Zachary.

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone at any age, not just recent graduates like Zachary. It is important to know the signs to help you identify imposter syndrome.

  • Worrying about the smallest things or flaws in your work
  • Attributing your success to external factors, such as luck, instead of internal factors, such as hard work or talent
  • Being sensitive to constructive criticism
  • Feeling like you will be called out as a phony or a fake
  • Downplaying your own knowledge in areas where you are more skilled than others

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

There are several things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome.

  1. Acknowledge your achievements: It is important to recognize and accept your accomplishments. This may require reframing your thinking to see failure as a normal part of the learning process rather than a reflection of your abilities.
  2. Seek out supportive relationships: Surround yourself with people who will build you up rather than tear you down. These people can encourage and help you see your achievements in a more realistic light.
  3. Be willing to take risks: One of the biggest roadblocks to success is fear of failure. You'll never achieve your full potential if you're afraid to take risks. Instead, try to view failure as a learning opportunity.
  4. Seek professional help: If imposter syndrome impacts your ability to function in daily life, it may be helpful to seek professional help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, Acenda can help. Discover how to accept help and support or visit our mental health resource center.