I’ve coached many people who have stunted their careers because of an overdeveloped imposter syndrome.
“I’ve reached the top of my level and would like to get a higher level job. People are encouraging me to apply for jobs. I saw a position advertised recently that looked good and that I’m probably qualified for but I wonder should I apply. Maybe people will think I’m above myself. They’ll think I have unrealistic opinions about myself. Who do I think I am? Maybe it’s better to wait a bit longer; to get more experience or more qualifications, because there is one aspect of the selection criteria that I’m a bit weak on.”
Kym, job hunter
These are people who have the ability to work at a higher level but cannot bring themselves to apply. And so they talk themselves out of applying. They say things like:
I think someone else is already lined up for that job.
If I do get the job I wonder will I be able to do it well? They’re going to expect me to be able to do all these things, to solve all the problems and perform at a really high level. I know my limitations.
It’s really busy here right now so I don’t think I have time to put together a really good application.
And even if they do apply and get the job the feelings remain. And so they can’t enjoy their success. In fact, success can make their imposter feelings worse because now the expectations are higher.
Extract from The Imposter Syndrome.