Twice now, during our site visits, we have heard of business professionals dealing with the “imposter syndrome”. Azeez from Google mentioned it yesterday and today, Helene from WorkDay mentioned it. This can be a common phenomenon based on the environment of your work. Both Google and WorkDay are very innovative, young companies that recruit highly talented employees. Both are regarded as some of the best places to work and the pinnacle of young, innovative technology companies. It is very understanding how being thrown into the Google/WorkDay environment can be overwhelming and make some feel undeserving of the opportunity.
Imposter syndrome, however, is not only relevant in a business setting. It could also be caused by schools, clubs, organizations or social settings. I can personally relate to the feeling of imposter syndrome when I was accepted into an organization. When accepted, I felt overwhelmed and thought the other members were far more deserving of the opportunity. I used a couple of strategies and tactics to overcome the phenomenon and combat the undeserving feeling. The first strategy was to ask questions. I was able to learn about other members in my group and how they relate to me on a work and personal level. This helped me realize that many other members of my group were very similar to me, and while I felt overwhelmed at the start, I soon realized that I fit into the group well. Another strategy was to reiterate to myself, why I got where I am. Sometimes life moves so quickly that we don’t comprehend the significance or meaning of our accomplishments. By taking a step back and realizing where I am and what I did to get here, I can appreciate all the work I did and feel more deserving of the opportunity.
If a colleague of mine told me that they were experiencing imposter syndrome, I would try to replicate what someone else did for me that helped me get through it. I would walk through how I overcame the situation and if that isn’t relatable enough, I would let them know that I am a resource for them to use. Hopefully, they can find the method that helps them become more comfortable and feel deserving of the opportunity.