Let's Talk about Imposter Syndrome
Wednesday, November 29th
This October, Klang celebrated Mental Health Month with an in-depth series of company-wide events and get-togethers. Throughout the month our very own Klangers came together to host for each other engaging activities (there was everything from yoga and meditation to arts and crafts) as well as discussions about different mental health topics.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
One of our most intensively engaged discussions was probably the one that focussed on the concept of Imposter Syndrome. One of our very own Klangers prepared a presentation around their own journey with feeling like an imposter. Some of us were surprised to learn that there was an actual term for this psychological phenomenon: in short, it manifests when people harbor doubts about their accomplishments, talents, or skills, all of which are also often coupled with an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud (an icky feeling for sure). This can lead to persistent feelings of inadequacy and a mistaken belief that one's success is solely due to luck or external factors, rather than their own abilities.
At Klang, we had a lot of conversations and space to discuss how quite a few of us experience imposter syndrome. Indeed, it’s pretty indiscriminate about who it chooses to afflict. We were also quite surprised to learn that many of our very senior and experienced Klangers who have shipped amazing games in the past are affected by this.
It's important to understand that Imposter Syndrome is a perception, not a reflection of our true abilities. Furthermore, it can affect people from all walks of life, including accomplished individuals like celebrities (yes, even Tom Hanks and Michelle Obama have openly admitted to experiencing it), CEOs, experts in various fields, and we reckon even Seedlings on Avesta. In the course of our discussions, we conducted a survey on Imposter Syndrome among our team members, and the results were eye-opening: the majority of our Klang team have encountered imposter feelings at some point in their professional journeys.
It's important to remember that Imposter Syndrome can distort our perception of reality. We may feel like others know much more than we do, but in reality, we all have different levels of knowledge in different areas. When dealing with Imposter Syndrome, it's crucial to remember that our feelings don't reflect incompetence; instead, they often stem from self-doubt.
How to Cope? Tips for Combating Imposter Syndrome
At first, it was a little bit shocking to hear that so many of us had dealt with feelings of being an imposter. Once the shock wore off, however, we discussed things that we could individually and collectively do to tackle these feelings. Here is what we came up with.
#1 - Celebrate our Achievements
One strategy for fighting Imposter Syndrome that we discussed is keeping a record of our achievements, both significant (raises and awards) and modest (that last amazing lasagne that you made,) and revisiting them when self-doubt begins to creep in. This practice can help us recognize that our success is a direct result of our hard work and skills, not merely a stroke of luck.
#2 - Reaching out for Support
The next tip may seem simple, but we discovered that reaching out for support and empathy from others can be super helpful! Although it may feel scary (like jumping off the side of a cliff even,) opening up about our feelings to friends, family, or a mentor can be really therapeutic. Sharing experiences can help us realize that many others have navigated similar struggles. We all agreed that nothing feels better than receiving support and perspective from an understanding pal.
#3 - Kick Perfectionism to the Curb
Now, just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s your daily reminder that PERFECTION IS AN UNATTAINABLE GOAL! We all forget this sometimes, but everyone makes mistakes and encounters setbacks. Plus, our conversation reminded us that learning and growth are actually born from these very experiences. So, instead of getting down on ourselves for things we don’t know, let’s commit to a continuous pursuit of opportunities for learning and self-improvement. The more we expand our knowledge and skills, the more confident we will become.
#4 - Reaching out for Professional Help
It’s important to note that for those of us dealing with severe Impostor Syndrome, reaching out for professional assistance might be essential. If you’re struggling, getting the support of a therapist or counselor can really make a world's worth of difference, and there is no shame in asking for help.
In conclusion, Impostor Syndrome is a common challenge that many of us face, but it does not define our self-worth or limit our potential! By acknowledging it, celebrating our accomplishments, and seeking support, we can kick Imposter Syndrome where the sun don’t shine!
Let’s always try to remember that we are more than enough, just as we are.