You look over to your left... over to your right...everything and everyone is where they should be, how they should be.
Except you. Because, well, you know what they all say: you are the main character of your life...!
Then you slowly begin to notice it. That joy you felt when you first sat yourself down in your office chair is quickly replaced by this sickening feeling and a voice that is impossible to turn off. You feel overwhelmed at work. You finally understand how it feels to be burned out.
We’ve all been there, sitting with self-doubt; overthinking and distressed; and dwelling in despair. Meet imposter syndrome, a new character that only appears during crucial episodes of our lives
We expect imposter syndrome to be a background character that appears for two pages and never mentioned ever again. You are probably not new to this… but let me tickle your memory and remind you that reality works a tad bit differently (...i know...). If you let it get into your head, and live in it rent free, imposter syndrome could morph into a freeloader in your life! And that is bad news in everyone’s book…
It’s time to assert your dominance and restore your confidence and self-esteem!
The first step to go about this is to study our subject: imposter syndrome. What actually happens when one enters your life? Imposter syndrome by definition is the feeling of being a phony - like your accomplishments occur to you perchance and by mere luck. Ultimately, it’s a sense of not belonging. When experiencing imposter syndrome, you are more inclined to feel isolated from those around you; berate and sabotage your own success...
Personality traits and absurdly high expectations from family members are two major causes. There may be few causes for imposter syndrome but their targets are many. Imposter syndrome targets five types of people: the Superhero, the Natural Genius, the Expert, the Perfectionist, and the Soloist.
The Superheroes are the type to overwork themselves to prove that they are in fact not imposters. They will go above and beyond to succeed in all aspects of their life whether that be their work life or private life. This type will go above and beyond to hide their supposedly flawed qualities that they are willing to endure all the subsequent damages following their overwork.
Natural Geniuses will deem themselves as incompetent the very moment they try doing something and that thing doesn’t come naturally to them; requires even an ounce of extra effort or additional hard work. They will most likely neglect those learning opportunities altogether. This absence of grit is worrisome in that it could eventually result in stagnancy of their current and future career development.
Experts on the other hand are most likely to spend a good amount of time fixating on perfecting every little detail. Nothing can get past them unnoticed. They will not stop searching for what they have envisioned until their curious minds are satisfied with what they have. This type is also a law-abiding bunch - to no one’s surprise, of course!
You probably have one or two perfectionists in your circle. Anything less than 100% is unacceptable and in desperate need for a do-over. One tiny mistake could hurt their feelings, lower their self-esteem, and make them question their own abilities and competencies to carry out their jobs.
Soloists, our lone wolves, are the ones who love completing set tasks alone - with no outside help whatsoever - because help, to soloists, is nothing but a stain to their names. They feel like complete failures when receiving, and even more so when they are the ones asking for a favor.
Source: Ravi Kumar on Unsplash
Now that we know exactly what imposter syndrome does and who are likely to be their victims, let’s talk strategies - what are the steps we need to take to eradicate this mighty beast.
To free yourself from negative and self-loathing thoughts, you must first separate your personal feelings from the facts... Acknowledge that you are only feeling inept because you feel pressured; to do well in your new work environment... that is totally normal..! They are mere feelings, not facts! All you need is a slight shift in your perspective and time to adjust yourself..! Get an internship abroad! See things from a different angle!
The trick to rewire your brain to turn this negative internalization into something positive and uplifting is…not as difficult as it sounds. Instead of talking yourself down and diminishing your confidence, like so: “wow, everyone is SO amazing... I wish I’m half as good...”, try talking about possibilities and how you see yourself benefitting from the situation that you are in, like so: “everyone here is so inspiring, I will be learning a whole lot from them!”
Don’t wait for you to feel confident enough to become the better version of yourself. Start now. The longer you prolong this, the more damage you are going to cause not only to yourself but to your own pride and joy; and the integrity and functionality of your team. Yes, work is important - we should all strive to produce good quality work - but so are you to your team members! Don’t push yourself too hard to the point where you are disconnected from your own reality. Take time to adjust and come out of this stronger!
Be a changed person. Visualize it. Make it your reality. You deserve to be here.
And since you are here, make the best out of it! Find out more information on AIP international internships by following this link here.