On Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt

Let me start by telling you a story.

Everything started when I luckily got into the best secondary school in my town. I was in a class of the best students there and I think I’m lucky I survived and still managed to get a pretty high grade, even though I wasn’t the top student in my class.

Then, I got lucky again. I got into the best high school in my town. Not only that, I also had a chance to enroll in an accelerated class, where I could finish high school in 2 years, instead of 3 years. I “luckily” survived again and managed to be the second best student in the class, in term of grades.

My good fortune didn’t stop there. I somehow managed to be admitted into one of the best, if not the best tech institute in Indonesia. Although I have no extraordinary achievement throughout college, I feel pretty blessed I could survive with a somewhat good grade.

Now, I work with one of the best FMCG company in the world, although I’m not quite sure how I could even have a chance to get here with my indistinguishable skills and competence.

Somehow, I’m afraid that someday, everyone will find out that I just got lucky my whole life. I’m afraid the will find out that I’m not actually that good, that I don’t actually deserve to get into the best schools and to work in the best company. I feel like I’m in a constant fear of being discovered a fraud my whole life.

Imposter Syndrome

So, I recently discovered that this chronic feeling of self-doubt is actually a thing. And it is called Imposter Syndrome.

But, what exactly is an Imposter Syndrome?

From what I read, it is simply a psychological phenomenon, not quite a mental disorder, that reflects your belief of being a complete utter failure, despite the evidence of your success and skills.

Then, is there any symptom of this phenomenon?

Actually, the syndrome will take form differently for each people. But in general, there are common traits someone with the syndrome have: perfectionism, micromanagement, overworking, fear of failure, self-doubt, and low confidence.

I’m quite relieved, though surprised, that I’m not alone. A lot of people, even the famous ones such as Natalie Portman and Emma Watson are experiencing this kind of feeling. They constantly worry that they don’t deserve your attention, that they are not worthy enough.

This syndrome, although seems harmless, can actually be destructive. It can cause you to think negatively about yourself. Those negative thoughts often cause a low self-esteem. And these usually will spiral down, causing stress, anxiety, and even depression. Or at least that’s what I experienced.

How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome?

To be honest, I’m still struggling with this. I found some suggestions on dealing with Imposter Syndrome that I think might work. Actually, I write them here as a note for myself, in case I’m having periods in the future.

  1. Learn to embrace failure. A lot of people usually get the syndrome when they are failing. When we embrace failure, we will know that failure is a natural part of the process, that it is okay to fail once or twice, and that it is a part of the success.
  2. Realize that there’s no shame in asking for a help. The syndrome might kick-in when you realize that you can’t figure out how to solve a problem. Actually, that is normal, you don’t need to know everything to not be a fraud. Once you acknowledge that not knowing something is alright, your fraudulent feelings might get better.
  3. Recognize your accomplishment. Be content with what you’ve done. Learn to appreciate yourself. Accept that you contributed to your success. When you look back at your past achievements, you might realize that you actually deserve that, that you’re not a fraud after all.
  4. Keep records of nice things people said about you. When you the episode is starting, visit this records and see your wins. Knowing that people acknowledge something good about you will make you feel less like a fraud.

There are actually a lot of things that helped people with their syndrome. But these four are what I have started practicing whenever the syndrome comes in. What do you think? Have you ever felt like a fraud? How did you deal with that?

 

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Let’s Have Another Coffee Share

If we were having coffee together right now, I would love to tell you so many things. Really, a lot of things had happened since the last coffee we had, one and a half year ago.

If we were having coffee together right now, I would tell you how I feel working for the first time. It’s been a hell of a ride this past 9 months. Long story short, I got my first job working for a consumer goods company as an Assistant Manager for Continous Improvement. I’m quite happy with the boss and the team. I’m quite happy with the things that I’ve been working on and with the things that I’ve learned.

If we were having coffee together right now, I would also tell you how hard my first few months at this job was. I barely could make any friends. You know that I’ve been a shy person. The people in my factory were very friendly though, we get along well now.

And then, I would also tell you that I have acquired a handful of people that I would consider as a “close” friend. Sadly though, they told me today that they would resign in a couple months. Yes, they, there weren’t just one people resigning, there were three of them, THREE.

Imagine how sad I am, having so little close friend and most of them would leave me anyway. Well, I guess that’s how life works. People come and go. In the same time, I’m feeling happy for them. At least they know what they want, or at least, what they don’t want before they were going too far in their life.

If we were having coffee together right now, I would also tell you that I’ve been living quite unhealthily when I started this job. I even gained 15 pounds of weight in the span of 8 months. Luckily, there was this new gym that started being operational since the past month. In fact, I started working out regularly since the past couple weeks. I’m glad I’m starting to go back to the healthy way of living!

If we were having coffee together right now, I would let you know that I’ve been so busy that I’m not sure how much I could write in the months to come. I’m not sure when we can have another coffee share. So, I would tell you “see you when I see you.” I hope this isn’t goodbye though.

Android Basics Nanodegree: Review from A Graduate

I have been wanting to learn about developing an Android apps for a long time. A few months ago I tried to learn a little part of it when me and my friend was building the platform for a smart farming system for a competition. But I just couldn’t learn anything from it. Then, a local startup held an Android development learning program and I joined. Still no luck, since I was very busy with my coursework and had to abandon the program.

Continue reading “Android Basics Nanodegree: Review from A Graduate”

My First Job Seeking Experience: Unilever, Pt. 2

As promised, here is the second part of the story of my first job seeking experience. In the last post, I have told you that I applied for Unilever Future Leaders Program (UFLP). Although I didn’t get the job, I have made it through the end of the selection process and I feel obliged to share it with you since I couldn’t find a lot of information regarding this program online.

In the first part, I have shared about the online application and online aptitude tests. After the tests, I needed to go through two more steps: interview and assessment centre. And today, I will try to share about both steps. Continue reading “My First Job Seeking Experience: Unilever, Pt. 2”

My First Job Seeking Experience: Unilever, Pt. 1

As I have told you in the last post, I have tried to start looking for a job so that when I graduate later this year I will already have a job waiting for me. Since I’m kind of interested to work in a supply chain area for a consumer goods company, I started to look for jobs that matched my criteria. So, when I was looking for the job, I missed a lot of deadlines and only got to apply for one: Unilever Future Leaders Program.

Unilever Future Leaders Program (UFLP) is a 3 year program in which you will be trained to be a manager in a specific area. If I recall correctly, there are 5 areas available to apply for: Supply Chain, Customer Development, Marketing, Human Resources and Finance. Obviously, I only applied for supply chain area because I have no knowledge nor experience in any other area. Continue reading “My First Job Seeking Experience: Unilever, Pt. 1”

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, I would like to apologize for my absence for the past few months. I was so busy dealing with so much things that happened in life during those past few months.

So, earlier this year I started to work on my final year project, which is expected to be completed by the end of August so that I can graduate and earn my Bachelor degree in October. Well, I admit that 8 months are quite a long time to work on this project alone. But unfortunately, I have some kind of problems that practically rendered the things I’ve worked on since the beginning of the year useless. So, I have to start over and I don’t know if I’ll make it in the next 3 months.

Then, I’ve also got an opportunity to do a Capstone Project with students from South Korea. How I got this opportunity is quite a long story by itself. But, I must say that I’m pretty excited with this project because I get to travel to South Korea at the end of May! So, I’ve spent these past few months doing this project beside my final year project, quite exhausting!

I have also tried to start looking for a job in hopes of securing one before I graduated so that I can start working right away after I graduated. So far, there is only one position that caught my attention, it was the Unilever Future Leaders Program. Well, I actually failed the test but I’ve got so much experiences from them. I have actually prepared a whole post to share this experience only.

Beside that, I was also taking a class to prepare for IELTS exam. I needed this certificate to apply for a master degree once I graduated because virtually every department in every university requires the certificate if the prospective students pursued their bachelor degree in universities that taught their course in non-English language. My overall score was actually good enough because I made an almost perfect score in the Listening and Reading sections in every test. However, my writing and speaking still need a lot of improvement.

Well, I think this post is getting long. So, maybe I will end this weekend coffee share here. I’ll catch you on the next one!