No More Self Doubt: 3 Tips On How to Stop Feeling Like an Imposter

It’s no secret that being a professional woman can come with various trials and tribulations. As a woman who is just starting her career, I’ve had many doubts and frustrations. Like many others who are entering the workforce, starting a business or climbing up the ladder within their own careers, I’ve experienced Impostor syndrome.

First identified by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, Imposter syndrome can be described as self-doubt or feelings of being incompetent. While Imposter Syndrome can affect anyone, it’s usually discussed as an issue faced by women. Most people who feel this way describe themselves as “just lucky” to be in the position they’re currently in and often feel that they don’t belong in their desired field.

I have worked since I was 16 years old, juggling school and part time work in customer service, but this year is my first time as an intern in a field that I want to continue to learn about and grow in. Being at Muse Group, has taught me so many things in my short time here and among the experience and knowledge about the public relations profession, I’ve learned how to let myself grow and learn without self-doubt.

I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that have helped me stay focused and remind me daily to strive for progress, not perfection. Check them out:

  1. “Weaknesses” are purley opportunities to grow

As someone who expects myself to succeed the first time, every time, receiving constructive criticism and feedback on my work can at times be difficult. That’s why I always label the things I need to improve on as opportunities, rather than weaknesses. It’s impossible to always deliver perfection and reminding yourself of that is a strength in itself.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

When you’re a perfectionist that’s trying to convince yourself that you belong in the position you’re in, it’s easy to fall into a “Yes Man” mentality. Always accepting tasks without asking for the direction and support you need. Asking questions and reaching out to colleagues are the things that help you learn and improve.

  1. Monitor your progress

I have a folder dedicated to all of the work I do, and I periodically reference back to past projects as a way to track my progress. When I feel like I’m not improving or like I don’t know what I’m doing, I look over past projects as a reminder that not only have I done this before, but I’ve been getting better at it over time. Seeing past progress makes it easier to envision future progress.

When we encounter obstacles or setbacks, it’s easy to regress. We start to regain feelings that we don’t belong in the positions we’re in or that it’s only a matter of time before we experience some ultimate failure. But success is not linear, our setbacks are what teach us and make us who we will eventually become. People often attribute their worthiness to outside achievements and their own perceptions of what defines success, but the truth is that merely the act of learning and enjoying what you do is what makes you successful.

I’m slowly learning that not only am I becoming better every day, but my mistakes are what make me worthy of my professional success. Without them I would never get the chance to become better at what I do.  There is a comfort in self doubt, it’s easier to tell yourself you’ll never live up to your own expectations because then you feel validated when you don’t. The truth is – it’s more difficult to accept that you are capable and right where you need to be. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and start believing in your ability to kick ass.