Kick Imposter Syndrome to the Curb


Have you heard the term “imposter syndrome”? If not, you may be familiar with the feeling. It’s that sense that you don’t deserve the job or recognition that you’re receiving. When that voice in your head says, “there have to be so many people who are better at this than me.”  I’m here to tell you that imposter syndrome is completely normal and something all professionals—especially young women and non-binary folk—experience. 

To be honest, even when I started in my role here at #BUILTBYGIRLS, I couldn’t help but feel like I had somehow tricked them into hiring me. Over time I learned to really celebrate my accomplishments and shake off that feeling of self-doubt. So as you head back for another semester or to start a new internship, here are a few things I’ve found helped me deal with my own imposter syndrome. 

Before we can talk about how to combat imposter syndrome, it’s a good idea to know what we’re talking about.  This is an awesome video that describes not only what imposter syndrome is, but just how common it is.

Video from Written by Elizabeth Cox and animated by Sharon Coleman

Here are my top three tips to kick imposter syndrome to the curb:

  1. 👋 Talk about it. As you heard in the video, the best way to shake off that self-doubt is to talk about it. Express the way you are feeling and more likely than not your coworker, teacher, or supervisor will tell you that they have often felt the same way. 

  2. 📝 Write down your accomplishments. I love to journal and it has actually helped me track the wins I’ve had. Being able to look back and see all of the things I’ve accomplished lets me see my value and stop doubting myself and my work. 

  3. 🙋 Ask for help. Often times we are worried about looking incompetent or being discovered as a “fraud” if we ask for help. But in reality, reaching out to someone to give you a hand will improve your work and minimize the feeling of failure that may come when you do something wrong. 

We (as women, people of color, queer folk, and other marginalized communities) are often made to feel out of place or lucky just to have that position. But the fact of the matter is you are a hard worker with great ideas and your success is not a product of luck or serendipity. Keep this in mind as you start this new year, new semester, and new internship.  You’re going to be amazing. 

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