How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in TechMay 31, 2023 2023-05-31 20:51
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in Tech
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in Tech
Imposter syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy or self-doubt despite evidence of competence. If you ask me, I would say that the feelings that come from imposter syndrome are about as valid as your child telling you that you do not love them because you did not buy them an airplane (a real one). There’s basically no evidence to support that. Imposter syndrome creeps in whenever we set out to try something new; little wonder people love their comfort zones so much. It’s just so difficult to get out of your comfort zone, and when you eventually do, imposter syndrome is waiting right on the wings to scare you back to where it thinks that you belong. Don’t listen to it.
Imposter syndrome is a feeling, and by now you should know that, though feelings are an important aspect of our existence, we know better than to listen to them. For example, when a child messes up really badly and you just want to open up their head to know exactly what it is they are thinking, you don’t really do that, do you? Surely not; however, you still felt like it. Why is it difficult to apply the same logic here? You feel like a failure like you can’t do it, and like people will find out that you can’t really do it. Do the same thing for yourself; acknowledge the feelings for what they are, but do not agree with them. Give them a name, “lies,” and then go on to apply the suggestions below.
1. Recognize that this experience is not unique to you:
One of the reasons why people suffer a lot alone before they find help is that, for some strange reason, everyone seems to think that their own situation is so unique that no one else in the world can understand them, so a solution would be difficult to find. That’s a lie. Many people, especially people in the tech field, experience this, so you are not alone. Imposter syndrome is common in tech because the industry is quite broad and it is never static; there is always a need to learn, to grow, and to change your way of thinking and working. Because this requires you to move out of your comfort zone quite often since you will need to keep learning, it seems that imposter syndrome has come to stay in the tech field. The first step out of this is to understand that you are not the only one feeling this way and that just as you don’t go around telling everyone else that you feel like an imposter, people don’t go around telling you that they feel like imposters too, so you are perfectly normal.
2. Reframe your thinking:
Your mindset is about the most important thing in whatever you may wish to succeed in. Tony Robbins says “A lot of things are happening in life, but what you choose to focus on becomes your life”. This is very true. Just because you are feeling strange things does not mean that you have to focus entirely on them. In fact, you can decide not to give them the time of day, and they will just disappear. Humans have the creative power to magnify whatever it is that they fix their gaze and attention upon.
Certainly, you have weaknesses. These weaknesses will show up from time to time, including in your tech career, and you have to choose again and again not to focus on them. For every human being alive, there is a chance to grow—a chance to get better at what you are good at or to become good at what you are bad at. Do not waste your time bemoaning your fate, spend your time learning. Take for example Tola, a social media manager who loves creating content and being an influencer but has hated math since primary school. She just discovered that, as a social media manager, she has to look into the data of the account to ascertain whether or not her strategies are working or not. She could decide to complain about it or refuse to learn and just hide the fact that she’s not so good at it, or she could brace up and make herself believe that she can do whatever she decides to do because she can. Know that. “Nothing is to be feared; it is only to be understood”.
3. Seek out support:
Let’s keep helping our Tola. The next wise thing to do is to seek out platforms to learn. The internet is dense with information about virtually anything you can think of right now. There are a lot of opportunities to learn, the question then is not where to learn, but are you willing to learn? Be willing to learn and adapt, no matter our age, we are not beyond learning. It is human nature to always seek to rise. We want to rise to higher heights; we do not want to be stagnant. The law of life, however, is that knowledge is what sponsors growth. So you want to grow? Learn, seek out learning opportunities, and learn and grow.
The fact is that the more you learn, the better you do, and the more evidence your mind has against imposter syndrome, the less you will believe that you once felt like an imposter in your career. You will become a mentor for others.
4. Practice self-care:
For me, self-care includes pep talks when you need them. It also includes doing everything possible to keep negative stress out of your life. The fact is that the more you are stressed, the worse your performance and the less your success. Without knowing it, you are giving your mind evidence that shows that you are not good at what you do. You are giving imposter syndrome fertile ground to grow, which is absolutely bad. You should not do that to yourself. Get things done on time, carve out time for yourself, and make sure that you are well relaxed.
Women are guilty of taking care of everyone else but themselves; don’t be guilty of this because if something goes wrong with you, every other thing is likely to fall apart, so the best thing to keep in the right condition is not every other thing, it is yourself.
5. Find a safe community:
With a safe community, you will not only discover that you are not the only one being plagued by imposter syndrome; you will also discover that the virus is on a rampage, and beyond the suggestions in this article, you will discover other practical ways to deal with it. Another thing that is common in healthy communities is validation and praise. As you make efforts and do better in your chosen tech career, your sisters in your community praise and validate you and give you pointers to help you do better. All these things will give your mind more evidence to combat imposter syndrome the next time it sneaks up on you, and it will feed your confidence.