Jenn Islam
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L&D | Talent Management | Diversity & Inclusion

Imposter syndrome is so real and valid. Personally, I feel like the more marginalized identities you have, the higher the probability you have imposter syndrome and the higher the intensity of it as well. But also, the more the likelihood that you bring so much to the table. Your perspective is invaluable to companies to make their products, services and overall environment more inclusive to others who share similar identities to you. 

My number one way to beat imposter syndrome, especially in the first 90 days of a new job, is to…believe in yourself. I know, so cliche, but it’s true. Know that you were chosen for a reason and you’re not alone in feeling this way. 

Whenever I start a new job, I go through intense imposter syndrome, wondering if I deserve to be there and if I’m good enough. The truth is that it will always take time to reach that confidence, but it’s there. You’ll quickly learn who to go to for what and all the acronyms, and in time, you’ll realize you’re adding great value to the team and company.

How to Believe in Yourself to Beat Imposter Syndrome in the First 90 days of a New Job

Reflect. 

Ask yourself why are you feeling like an imposter, and why in that moment? You can meditate on it, write it out or talk it out with someone you trust. If you’re comfortable with your manager, I recommend bringing it up with them to see if they have any ideas on how to build your confidence and showcase your value.

Write a letter giving advice to yourself. 

We are our own worst critics. If you were someone else talking to you, what would you say to yourself? We tend to be much kinder to others than ourselves — time to pour out some self-love.

Review your application.

Reread your resume, cover letter and job description to remind yourself that you’re more than capable of what’s expected of you. People in the interview process saw your value and potential. Hopefully, you’re in a company that allows a learning curve, as that can also be crucial to shedding your imposter syndrome. 

Share your voice and see what happens. 

Speak up in a meeting, ask a question in a group setting and put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is that your colleagues say that’s a bad idea and move on, and that’s okay. Sometimes, I think that I have a terrible idea, and I keep it to myself, and then another person shares the exact same idea and receives high praise for it! I’m not saying chase the praise — I’m saying that you never know unless you try.

Acknowledge how common impostor syndrome is.

Many people experience it, and you're most likely not alone. In fact, there are social media handles dedicated solely to dealing with imposter syndrome. You’re certainly not alone, and you’re welcome to check out relevant hashtags and forums to find a sense of community to help you get over it.

Fail forward. 

If you make a mistake, turn it into a learning opportunity. Don’t let fear get in the way of creativity and success. Go for it, with thought put into whatever “it” is.

Go through the "worst-case scenario" for a situation. 

Sometimes, our impostor syndrome comes from now wanting to make a mistake. Think through what are the worst case scenarios, and you'll be surprised by how well you can address them.

Don't take yourself too seriously. 

We like to think that everyone else has it together, but the truth is that they’re figuring things out as we go, too.

I once had a colleague who told me that imposter syndrome can be healthy at times because it motivates you to work harder and outperform yourself. I like that mentality, to an extent. I think it’s healthy to challenge yourself, but unhealthy to push yourself to exhaustion and put yourself down. 

So challenge yourself to believe in yourself, and take the time and boundaries to recharge when you can. It will definitely take time to move forward from these feelings, and before you know it, you’ll be giving the same advice to the next new hire. 

Chances are, you’re probably doing great.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Jenn Islam has been in the career development and learning & development space for about six years. She earned her BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies from Stony Brook University, and her MS in Students Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University of Ohio. Outside of work, she loves to cook new recipes, knit/crochet new patterns (especially for babies & kids), play board games (and win) with her partner, and spend quality time with loved ones. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn and let her know that you came from reading this article.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for beating imposter snydrome? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!