Impostor or impostor syndrome, how to detect it and what to do to stop it

Impostor or impostor syndrome, how to detect it and what to do to stop it

A few years ago, Cecilia Mancilla worked at a technology company where the environment “was hostile and growth opportunities were defined by gender.” This brought several consequences, one of them was the impostor syndrome. He is now a professional training and career development specialist, but he had to go through a personal process that is not over yet, he says.

The imposter person syndrome “It is not cataloged in clinical psychology manuals as a psychopathology”, explains Maite Moreno, psychologist and founding partner of the organizational innovation consultancy Monday Happy Monday, in an interview.

It is defined as the act of doubt your abilities. That can happen to all of us at some point, but when you start to feel constantly insecure, constantly doubt and feel like a fraud, you wonder ‘did I cheat on them in the interview and that’s why I’m here, but shouldn’t I really have the job?’” You may be experiencing that condition.

It is not a psychopathology, but when the syndrome worsens and deepens “it could lead us to different psychopathologies such as depression or anxiety“, Explain.

“I had it and I realized when I started to procrastinate. There were projects that interested me, but I left them for later because I thought that at that moment I was incapable of carrying them out. Those things accumulated until I had to ask myself what was happening, why I was not being able to do what I used to do without problems”, recalls Cecilia Mancilla, an instructor at Udemy, an online learning platform.

This topic is being talked about more and more, but it is still insufficient. Cecilia Mancilla knew about this syndrome because she was at work gave a talk about it. “That’s when I realized that what was happening to me was that.”

We think that “we leave things for later because we are messy, that we do not know how to manage our time, but if it is something that we had already done before and now it is difficult for us, then it’s an alarm”.

Who can have impostor syndrome?

The people who work in high performance activities and those who find it easy to accept their achievements are more likely to develop this syndrome, says Maite Moreno, professor at the EAE Business School.

“Attack the young people Already womenthat for cultural reasons we have had a greater tendency to insecurity because we have been treated unfairly”.

According to Cecilia Masilla, more than 75% of women has suffered from this syndrome at some point in his career. But “it is due to the social context and the labor reality, because the opportunities are not equal. It is not that, because we are women, we are more sensitive or weak.

Among the different unconscious biases in the workplace, there is one, he says, which is performance. “Women always have to show more than men, because our achievements are thought or they look at each other as a result of luck and those of men, of effort. That makes us believe that we don’t deserve what we have and that we’re not good enough.”

To the women “and to the underrepresented groups It happens to us all the time.” That is, to people from indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, LGBTIQ+, among others.

The generation millennial Y centennial it is also more prone, says Maite Moreno. “They are people with intense pressure to differentiate themselves from others. The social networks They impose a model of perfection on them, they keep reminding them that there are those who seem happy and successful.”

In addition, he says, “these are generations raised with trophies or awards and they had constant positive feedback. So they don’t take too well with criticism, even if it’s constructive.”

On the other hand, if the socioeconomic situation of their fathers and mothers was not the best, it is likely that they feel a “self-demand to be especially productive, to do everything well. And that, taken to the extreme, can lead to that syndrome.”

People who attribute success to the external, who think that “when I do something wrong it is my fault and when I do something right it is because there has been some help, these types of personalities are especially prone”, adds the psychologist. But also those who have little knowledge of themselves.

Workspaces with psychological safety

The imposter person syndrome It affects the creativity, the ability to concentrate and the productivity of people. That is why it is not just a personal problem, companies have a responsibility to help their teams get out of this situation.

Above all, they must prevent them, creating non-violent work environments no inequality. “I felt I wasn’t good enough. The feedback I received, the few opportunities I had made me feel that way”, recalls Cecilia Mansilla.

We are all in a process of learning and unlearning, it is becoming more visible, but more must be done, he insists. It is urgent to create “workspaces in which the psychological safety” and people can say they are having a bad time and ask for help.

“You have to be more supportive and observe that, if someone is falling behind in work, they are not participating much, they are making mistakes, ask them what is wrong. Always with respect for your privacy. Perhaps the worker or the worker does not feel the confidence to express it, that is why we must create an environment that is conducive and normalize the issue.

A specific practice to avoid this syndrome “is that we all must begin to recognize our achievementsthose who have a leadership position, but also among peers, no matter how small the achievement.”

That company where Cecilia Masilla worked marked her. “they stayed remnants of those feelings, but educating myself on the subject has allowed me to recognize when those thoughts of not being good enough come up. It has helped me get to know myself better.

“As women, we must trust ourselves, when opportunities appear, it is because we are capable. But if we are still nervous, we can look for strategies to feel safe, such as preparing better for the position or the interview, rehearsing with someone, taking breaths, whatever make us feel confident.”

But it is also a matter of “learning to trust the other. If such a person contacted me it is for something, it is because I am good and she knew how to see it.

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