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Dealing with imposter syndrome- Be at peace with your own value

Dealing with imposter syndrome: Be at peace with your own value

While growing up we probably changed our minds about our career aspirations as we passed through the different phases of growth. Such decisions often stem from our favourite activities at the time; and as we grew older, they slowly transcended into areas that are a true representation of our personal dispositions as individuals. For example, a social butterfly would find themselves in careers that provide exposure to vibrant client facing settings, whereas a strong introvert may find themselves in environments or careers that function in smaller units and require less client-facing involvement.

The definitive difference between aspiration and actualisation is the process you undergo to establish your career, make a transition, or define your purpose. This emancipation is a tedious circle of change and evolvement that needs consistent nurturing to stay relevant in an evolving economy and a competitive market.

In the midst of growing and glowing in our professional journey, we can be overwhelmed with the impact that socio-economic ideologies have on our environment. As a result of this, we tend to question our relevance, suitability, and even capability to be a game-changer in our various specialisms. This has birthed what we know today as Imposter Syndrome.

So, what is imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is a psychological mindset that persistently tells us that one’s success is undeserving or has not been legitimately achieved as a result of our own efforts or skills. This is something that has existed amongst us for generations but didn’t have a terminology at the time to qualify the feeling of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and timidness rolled into one.

From a Human Resources perspective, imposter syndrome has affected business continuity strategies that have been designed to elevate careers such as succession planning. Employees have been reluctant to demonstrate their full potential and assume roles they are more than qualified for because the ideology has affected their confidence. Fast forward to today, imposter syndrome has become more recognized in the workplace, and a key area of concern within Human Capacity Development.

So how do I identify imposter syndrome? and how do I overcome it? Here are a few signs:

You accumulate professional achievements but do not feel the need to celebrate it, you shy away from public recognition and awards, you don’t put yourself forward for more responsibility and exposure, and the list goes on. But I am here to tell you that your experience is valid.

In a market where talented professionals are many and the opportunities are few you need to stand firm in your self-assurance. You need to strongly believe that within that talent pool, you are a niche, a specialist that has something unique to offer any organisation.

Self-Assurance is the Love-Child of Self-Love. You cannot love another unless you truly love yourself, and your career and professional journey is no different. It’s easy to fall into the habit of comparing yourself to your peers especially if you share similarities, but by focusing on their journey, you’re in danger of losing yourself on your own. Just like DNA, your journey is unique to you and the only comparisons you should be making is with yourself. reflecting on where you were before in comparison to where you are now and setting targets to where you want to be within a certain time frame, by setting mini milestones that help you achieve your overall objective.

Sometimes we don’t realise that we limit our own ability in words, thoughts, and actions. Allowing fear, doubt, and negativity cloud our vision by using words such as, can’t and won’t. Who says you can’t achieve your goals? Who said you cannot be what you want to be? The truth is you hold the keys to your own destiny, your aspirations are VALID!

You cannot sit and wait for anyone to validate you and give you that seal of approval. Maybe there’s someone you look up to and want to be associated with, but you feel you may not be up to par. I want to tell you that YOU are! After all, they were not born that way. More times than not they started exactly where you are – looking for validation and went through the same struggles of uncertainty. Along the way they probably met mentors and from there paved their own way.

Many successful people still have mentors in their professional and personal life, people they look up to. But first you need to deem yourself worthy by proactively investing in yourself professionally and personally. I say personally because it goes without saying that how you feel has a huge impact on what you do. If you feel happy it will reflect in the productivity of your work. If you’re not in a good mood, no matter how you feel, if you’ve not left it at the door before you come to work, there will be some sort of reflection on your current state of mind. It may affect the way you relate with your colleagues or the quality of your deliverables.

If we had the power to change everything, the world and its billions of inhabitants would be in complete chaos. In a world governed by probability and possibility, you have the obligation to positively impact the things that we can change using our natural gifts and attributes. We all have something that makes us unique; and sometimes it can be so small that we might overlook it, take it for granted or not understand the full potential of how mighty that little gift is.

It might be that you have an excellent retentive memory, or are excellent at analysing, forecasting and predicting things. These attributes are key in various positions and industries which organisations will pay for to add to their productivity. For example, being very analytical and demonstrating the ability to forecast and predict is very essential in Finance and Business Analysis. In finance, you deal with numbers, you manipulate them to predict revenue, to identify risks, and to determine possible profit. Having retentive memory is really self-explanatory, it helps you to be an all-round productive professional.

Now, we all have the degrees, masters, PhDs, and the professional accreditations, coupled with the professional experience. But what makes you stand out from your fellow master’s degree holder? Or your fellow accreditation member?

It is the gifts that make YOU unique, because there is only one version of YOU!

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