How I overcame my Imposter Syndromeon 5 August 2020 for Tech Graduates
Have you heard of Imposter Syndrome? Even if you’re not familiar with the term, chances are you’re familiar with the symptoms. Recent research shows that 65% of professionals suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Symptoms include doubting your abilities, feeling like a fraud and perceiving yourself as underqualified for your responsibilities – without having any actual evidence to back these claims up. People struggling with Imposter Syndrome don’t believe they deserve the opportunities they’ve been given, and fear they’re only one screw-up away from being exposed for their incapability. As you can imagine, it’s very stressful.
Gianni Lens, a smart and charming young man of 23, struggled with what you can call Imposter Syndrome when he started working for Exellys. “I never feel like I do anything right, and I don’t think I deserve praise for any of my so-called accomplishments,” he explains. “In school, we had a lot of group tasks. So when I graduated as a bachelor in IT, I didn’t feel like I deserved my diploma. After all, other people had helped me get those grades.”
Feedback session as a turn-around point
“When I started working as an automation engineer at ING, the same thing happened. I was scared of giving presentations, because I was sure I’d say something stupid and other people would discover that I have no business being where I am in my career. It was so bad that, when one of my co-workers got fired, I felt horrible. I kept thinking: I’m doing a worse job than he was, I should have been the one to get sacked.”
Gianni has been part of the Exellys community for a year and a half now, and a lot has changed for him since January 2021. Like all Exellysts, he is under the guidance of one of our Talent Development Managers (or TDM’s for short). Our TDM’s are certified coaches with an extensive background in IT. Their job is to bring out the best in each of our young talents.
Gianni’s coach Leslie has been really valuable to help him overcome this Imposter Syndrome. Even getting the conversation about this issue going, was easy and natural. “During my second feedback session at ING, I was receiving lots of praise, but I couldn’t accept any of it,” Gianni says. “My coach immediately grasped the seriousness of what was going on, and we started discussing this issue right away. We talked about nothing else for the rest of the meeting.”
Baby steps towards confidence
“Leslie, my coach, has helped me to take small steps to get more comfortable with myself, and to see the value in the things I’m doing. For example – because giving presentations scared me so much – Leslie challenged me to start ‘small’ by giving presentations to the internal team only. Slowly, as I gained confidence and learned that messing up and making mistakes is actually no big deal at all, I grew more comfortable with giving presentations to outsiders as well. I’m also taking the lead in the scrum meetings at work, which also helps me a lot to find my confidence and self-worth.”
Though the coaching he gets at Exellys has been of great value to Gianni, that is not the only thing he enjoys about working for us. “Next to the awesome Exellys events, I really like the trainings,” he says. “I wanted to work in Cloud, so I took the two week Azure training when it was first launched. I really enjoyed it: it was very interesting and useful. Now that we’ve started to work with Cloud at ING, I’m a step ahead of my co-workers, which also makes me feel great and capable!”
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