The Upsides of Having Impostor Syndrome
What if I tell you that having Impostor Syndrome might have its advantages?
Impostor syndrome is known as a condition where one has the feeling of being inadequate and a fraud despite a reputation for success at work. Statistics said that almost 70% have had impostor syndrome. According to Dr. Tewfik through Harvard Business Review article, people with impostor syndrome adopted a more other-focused orientation in their social interactions. This leads them to be rated as more interpersonally effective. This creates some advantages that we’ll discuss further.
Dr. Tewfik: “My research shows that experiencing this phenomenon can make you more adept at relationships, which is a key ingredient in career success.”
Although the effects of having impostor syndrome could lead to several insecurities and low self-esteem issues, it is found that they can make you more adept in building relationships. Essentially, having impostor thoughts make you more “people oriented” where generally you would be more attuned to other people’s perceptions and feelings leading to higher rate of likability. For example, one sample shows that doctors in training who had more-frequent impostor thoughts were significantly better at handling interpersonal-skill with patients, making them having higher ratings in hospitality. In addition, Dr. Tewfik also does not find that impostor syndrome affects their performance.
Even so, it is undeniable that having impostor syndrome would create low self-esteem thoughts. The notion that persisted is that people with the syndrome would most likely be stressed out due to the negative thoughts, lowering their performance in the way. However, there’s no dated empirical evidence that the thoughts could degrade performance. Moreover, psychologists often point to something called the Yerkes-Dodson stress performance curve, which shows that a few nerves improve performance. Thus, it is an open question whether or not the right amount of impostor thoughts could manifest just enough motivation to do tasks very well.
So, should we all jumpstart our impostor-induced thoughts?
As tempting as that may seem, Dr. Tewfik doesn’t recommend intentionally inducing impostor thoughts. There are simply better ways to help form better, stronger interpersonal relationships. The idea behind this research is to create validation that these thoughts won’t hinder you from any performance. Yes, it is a common struggle to have, but you shouldn’t compound the stress that comes with them by thinking self-limiting beliefs when it comes to establishing work performance. Especially because it is mainly triggered by new, foreign experiences, it is not going to affect your performance rate–at least by previous studies.
Let’s not stress out a little bit too much and look at it in a more positive light: you’ll have a 50% higher rate of your client liking you 😉
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Based on HBR’s article by Eben Harrell, “Impostor Syndrome Has Its Advantages”
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