If you've ever found yourself at a professional networking event (or anywhere else for that matter) and had an internal dialogue that went something like this: "I don't belong here. These people have a lot more experience than me. There's no way I can measure up to them. I feel like a fraud." You aren't alone. Imposter syndrome is real, and it's not uncommon.
According to Psychology Today, about 70% of adults experience impostorism at least once in their lifetime. Even high achievers aren't immune! Around 25 to 30% will suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Here’s the truth about Imposter Syndrome and how to handle it when you are business networking.
Personality traits and family dynamics are thought to be the drivers of Imposter Syndrome. Individuals who struggle with perfectionism, neuroticism, and self-efficacy are prone to episodes of Imposter Syndrome. Families that value achievement above all else and cultural expectations to achieve goals can also contribute.
Competitive environments, like business networking events, are a common trigger. Promotions and awards often can cause you to question your self-worth. "I don't really deserve this."
Imposter syndrome comes with many different internal and external feelings and thoughts.
Internal thoughts and feelings include:
External signs of Imposter Syndrome include:
The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to know what it is and that it isn't uncommon.
Before you attend a business networking event, do your research on the other participants. Find common ground with them to facilitate a smoother conversation. Wear something that makes you feel confident. Don't wear uncomfortable clothes. Instead, choose something that reflects who you are and doesn't make you stand out for the wrong reasons.
Be your own cheerleader. A few weeks before the event, write down some affirmations where you are likely to see them throughout your day. Practice saying them to yourself. The best thing you can do is remember you aren't alone. There are others in the room that feel the same way you do. Lift each other up.
4BR is a networking opportunity designed to support your business needs. If you're ready to join our community of professionals, find a group near you.