Impostor Syndrome is a term I had never until I got into the web design/Divi community and while at first, I dismissed it thinking it was something that didn’t apply to me, I soon realized I absolutely had these feelings.
Over my decade of experience in web design to date, I’ve learned some valuable ways to combat and overcome imposter syndrome which we’ll explore here.
First, the Wikipedia definition:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
And as mentioned in the episode, here’s the Harvard Business Review definition that I really like:
Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
Here are 5 ways to overcome imposter syndrome:
Side note: doesn’t mean you won’t feel it but these will help combat it and pull you through it.
- Nobody’s an expert – Feeling like you’re an imposter because you’re not yet an expert? Join the club! Nobody is an expert in web design because things change CONSTANTLY. There’s no way for someone to know everything.
- You know more than you think – It’s amazing when you start talking about a subject, whether design, development, sales, etc, and realize holy cow, I know a lot more about that than I thought! It doesn’t take long to acquire A LOT of knowledge which will help you combat feeling like a fraud. I guarantee you already know way more than you think!
- You don’t need to know everything – I’m very open in saying “I’m not sure, let me find that out,” whether it’s with clients or students. It can make you feel like a fraud, when you don’t know something BUT THAT’S OK! That’s why there’s this lovely tool called Google. We’re in an age where we really don’t need to memorize or “know” much when we can get an answer in seconds!
- Reflect on your successes – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT let a celebratory opportunity go by. Whether it’s reflecting on a completed project, landing a new client, fixing and issue, etc – make sure to not let those opportunities to reflect on successes slip by. 10 negatives always outweigh 1 positive so you need to cherish those moments and reflect on them. It’ll help with overcoming imposter syndrome.
- Enjoy the process – Perhaps most importantly, especially when starting out is to learn to enjoy the process of learning, growing and experiencing everyday. I firmly believe it’s the true key to happiness at least in work/career. Though I’ve experienced some success to this point, I haven’t “arrived” and I don’t think I ever will. You won’t either. Learn to enjoy the process and it’ll really help you in avoiding imposter syndrome.
So there you go! If you enjoyed this episode and post and have any thoughts, please share them by leaving a comment below!