Top tips to keep imposter syndrome at bay

This ‘thought for today’ notice at a tube station got my attention this week.

I am guilty.

I have spent a lot of time worrying lately and I am not alone.  In academia we worry about job security, budgets, grant applications, publications, time and project management, teaching, work-life balance – you name it.  Not to mention the rejection that comes with most of the above, is it any wonder therefore that imposter syndrome is so rife in our hallowed halls?

Walt Disney reminds us to focus on doing not the best you can, but the very best you can.  Great, more pressure!  But how do we know when we have done our very best?  Don’t we all think we could have done better in hindsight or is that just the self-doubting perfectionist in me?

I’m writing this quick post as a reminder to myself and others to stop worrying and to just get on with it – work, life, whatever.

“Keep calm and carry on”

We should enjoy periods such as our postdoc years rather than fill them with worry.  Here’s a couple of tips I’ve turned to when the ‘I’m not good enough’ worry sets in:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Do something to improve on what your very best is
  • View experiences and mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Take an inventory of your success and compare yourself to your younger self

What are your tips for keeping academic worries at bay?

6 thoughts on “Top tips to keep imposter syndrome at bay

    1. Thanks! There is a ‘subscribe to my RSS feed’ button at the bottom of the sidebar (accessible via the three horizontal lines at the top right of the homepage). Let me know if that works, I’ll make sure to sort it out if not.

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