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You Are Not an Imposter

So stop treating yourself like one.

An unfortunate trend among working millennials is the prevalence of “imposter syndrome.” Imposter syndrome is a minor psychological condition wherein you believe your accomplishments are all flukes, and that you’ve only gotten as far as you have through sheer luck. Psychologists haven’t identified a single concrete cause of imposter syndrome, with some theorizing it to be due to high stress or anxiety and others linking it to unpleasant childhood memories. Whatever the cause, it’s a very draining, self-defeating mindset, and less-than conducive to a successful career.

The first step to fighting off destructive thought processes is identifying them on the spot. Whenever you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, try to stop and observe yourself. Where are these thoughts coming from? Why do you think that? You may often find that when you cut off destructive thought processes, you’ll realize how irrational they are.

One of the best cures for imposter syndrome is assurance from those around you. You can ask your friends or family to put in a good word, though that can feel a tad cheap, so it might be more constructive to ask a coworker or supervisor. Simply ask “am I helping?” If you have a history of success, than more than likely, they’ll say yes.

It can be easy to get down on yourself and assume any positive steps you make are flukes, but don’t let yourself be like that. If you’ve got a good job and a steady life, then you’re doing something right. Luck doesn’t get someone through their entire life; skill and dedication does, and you’ve got both in spades.

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