Tue, Mar 15 2022~4min

5 ways to overcome the impostor syndrome and fight perfectionism

Don't think that you're the only one who feels like a fraud sometimes. Everybody does, even high achievers! Why is that? Because we think every task has to be done perfectly, and rarely ask for help.

The impostor syndrome can manifest in different ways.

Some avoid asking questions because they feel that they already should know the answer.

Some put down their accomplishments and believe that others were responsible for their success.

Others may procrastinate or feel anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of taking on new challenges.

No matter how confident you think you are (or not) when you learn something new, start a new project, or especially when you join a new team, you will likely feel uncomfortable for a while.

In a team, you'll likely compare yourself with others, questioning your skills, your ideas, and your expertise.

The fact that these people show more experience scares you and can take you off the game. That doesn't necessarily mean they're better than you, or maybe they are, but they were also impostors back in the day.

Remember that we all have our own unique set of skills and expertise, but it doesn't necessarily mean we're better than others.

We just bring different experiences and strengths to the table.

The important thing is to accept who you are, develop a healthy sense of humility, and build solid relationships with the people around you. This way, you will give yourself a chance to grow in your role without feeling like you have done something wrong.

Here's the thing: your teammates and managers probably feel like impostors, too!

We're all impostors in the beginning and that's ok.

A symptom that goes hand in hand with the impostor phenomenon is perfectionism. These perfectionistic tendencies creates the fear of making mistakes.

In fact, this could be a way to detect when someone feels like an impostor. Their aim for perfect might be a sign of it.

"I have been successful in spite of perfectionism, not because of it." - Dr. David D. Burns

Being perfectionistic is a double-edged sword. You can spend your life trying to prove how perfect you are, but there's a constant pressure of never being good enough. It creates fear of making mistakes, believing that if you do, people will think less of you.

Perfectionists think everything they do has to be perfect so they never ask for help because they believe they should already know the answers.

Build confidence by accepting your mistakes.

Confident people are okay with being wrong because they know that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. They will ask for help if they need it, and they know that asking questions doesn't make them stupid.

So, how can you overcome impostor syndrome, fight perfectionism tendencies and build confidence?

Acknowledge your feelings.

Don't try to rationalize or dismiss them. Just because you feel like an impostor doesn't mean that you are one.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster because you will always come up short. You are your own unique person, and that is a good thing!

Give yourself credit where credit is due.

Acknowledge your accomplishments and give yourself the pat on the back that you deserve.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

The only way to expand your knowledge is through asking questions, so go ahead and ask!

Be confident in your work.

While it's good to humble yourself, never undervalue or underestimate your abilities because you are amazing at what you do!

Remember, everyone has impostor syndrome at times, and you are no different! So don't feel like you're alone; take steps to deal with it and accept the challenges life throws your way.

Mistakes are part of any learning process and no one is perfect. You are capable of anything you set your mind to, so stop undervaluing yourself.

As Dr. David D. Burns says: "Perfectionism is self-defeating because it's based on an irrational belief that you're not good enough as you are. It's also a waste of time because it interferes with productive goal-setting and can keep you from achieving your potential."

Recognize a goal as a challenge rather than a threat, so there's less pressure.

In closing

It’s normal to feel like an impostor in the beginning.

You don’t know what you don’t know and that can be intimidating, but it also means there are infinite growth opportunities.

Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Learn to ask for help when you need it the most. Celebrate every small win.

I hope these insights have been helpful to you.

Do me a favour and join my small list of friends to get more tips about this kind of self-discovery topic. I try to email them weekly, but hey...I'm not perfect either.