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Science Just Found a Way to Get Rid of Your Imposter Syndrome

Topics: Career Advice
imposter syndrome
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Una Dabiero via Fairygodboss

Just in case you somehow forgot how important STEM is, a new scientific study has determined the best way to cure imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome — the worry that you don’t deserve your success and will be discovered as an imposter — reportedly affects 70% of the population. According to research done at Brigham Young University and published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, the most effective way to battle imposter syndrome is to seek support from someone outside of your field or, really, someone you don’t know in a professional setting at all.

Researchers say seeking support from a friend or family member helped their subjects see their abilities in the big picture.

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“After reaching outside their social group for support, students are able to understand themselves more holistically rather than being so focused on what they felt they lacked in just one area,” Jeff Bednar, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Brigham Young University, said in a press release.

On the flip side, the study found that speaking to someone in your field amplifies feelings of imposter syndrome, probably due to an increased likelihood to draw comparisons between your abilities and theirs.

While the study was conducted on college students, the authors say it can be applied to the workplace, too. They used it to make suggestions for organizations on how to cut down on imposter syndrome and increase morale and productivity.

“It’s important to create cultures where people talk about failure and mistakes,” Bednar said in a press release. “When we create those cultures, someone who is feeling strong feelings of impostor-ism will be more likely to get the help they need within the organization.”

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A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.

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