Imposter Syndrome: Are Your Habits Helpful or Hurtful & Do You Know the Difference? by Jennifer Coken
A habit by definition is “a routine behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” Some habits are harmful, some of them are helpful and some can actually be both.
Nail biting, bingeing ice cream when we are down, waiting until the last minute to get something super important done – not so awesome. Arriving 15 minutes early to any event, taking notes at every meeting, creating backup plans for the backup plans – probably habits contributing to our success. Several of these types of habits are revered because they illustrate we are dependable, reliable, prepared, organized, and the list goes on. But instead of people looking at you and thinking, “Where did you pick that habit up?” like it’s a weird looking rash, people are wondering, “How did you come to be so … (fill in the blank).”
But there is a subtle, sneaky, less-than-ideal side to those habits that makes everyone admire you at the office. Is that backup plan to the backup plan really necessary? What’s driving it? Why do you need to take notes at the meeting if someone else is doing it and they’re going to distribute them?
A lot of our habitual ways of doing things support our move up the ladder. Putting in long hours, showing up before and leaving after everyone else, being extra prepared for meetings, usually result in recognition by way of promotions, title changes and/or salary increases. However, underlying all of those behaviors that may look good and lead to some really awesome things, might be a mindset that isn't serving you and will likely bring you to a screeching halt eventually.
I’m talking about imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome simply stated is a limiting belief mindset. While being a “perfectionist” or an “overachiever” may be your superpowers, they also can be absolutely exhausting to live. Eventually, those “superpowers” are going to suck the life out of you and your joy of living.
And that’s where the rub is. Symptoms (beliefs, thoughts, feelings about one’s performance and behavior) of imposter syndrome might be useful until they’re not. Think about it: your perfectionism might have gotten you the promotion to manager, but now are you expecting that level of perfectionism for your team? If you are, how is that impacting your leadership and relationship with those you manage?
You can survive imposter syndrome, you can even reach pretty high peaks of performance, but you won’t always thrive under its power. On the reverse side, however, if you aren’t feeling the effects of imposter syndrome (some self-doubt and fear), you’re probably not playing a big enough game.
When people work with me and dive into how imposter syndrome is showing up in their lives, they can be more focused on the symptoms and less on why they came by it to begin with. Symptoms of imposter syndrome can vary depending on the type you have. Yet, the answer on understanding how to disrupt it (when it’s no longer being useful, that is) is in understanding where it came from.
Want to talk more about this habit of yours? Get in touch. I want to hear all about it. (No, seriously. I totally geek out over this.) Really, the most important thing is for you to take the quiz.
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