Before landing the lead role in ABC's "Quantico," actress and model Priyanka Chopra was a well-known Bollywood film star. And still, Chopra had a moment of self-doubt when she she auditioned for the hit FBI drama.
"I was nervous, but I walked into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and was like, 'You've done about 50 movies. You do not need to worry,'" she told Women's Health. Chopra, who became the first South Asian to headline an American network series, overcame her nerves and landed the job.
The sense of feeling unqualified for a position despite evidence to the contrary, often called impostor syndrome, is not uncommon, even among highly successful people like Chopra. Almost three-fourths, or 70%, of Americans report having at some point experienced impostor syndrome, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Behavioral Science.
Here are three strategies to help you get over impostor syndrome and get on track to meet your career goals.
One way to combat impostor syndrome is by building a supportive community of family, friends, and mentors who are invested in your success. Talking openly with those people about your goals and doubts can help you "disempower" impostor syndrome, Anyelis Cordero, founder of Move the Needle Career Coaching, told Grow last year.
"Have conversations like, 'Hey, I'm looking at this job. Here are the qualifications. What do you think?'" Cordero says. "And have a community of people saying 'Girl, you can do that job.'"
Connecting with a supportive community is a strategy that Chopra uses, too: "I meet up with people I love and who love me," she told Women's Health.
Keeping a physical reminder of your accomplishments can help you boost your confidence, says Keita H. Williams, founder of Success Bully, a career consulting business.
"Track your progress, track those little wins, so you can go back and look at it all the time," Williams told Grow last year. "I have an accomplishments board, so each benchmark I hit for the year, I pin it to the board and I can easily look at it when I feel some kind of way. Track the wins and build your confidence."
When impostor syndrome strikes, having visual evidence of your wins can counter feelings of insecurity.
"You're not born with confidence; you have to teach yourself to be confident," Chopra says. "I told myself every single day that I'm good at my job. There's a confidence that comes from knowing you're good at something."
If parts of your job bother you or that make you feel insecure, don't push those feelings away, suggests Lisa Marie Bobby, a psychologist and the clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching. "When people feel a certain way — disappointed or angry — and then pretend to be OK, it's alienating to others, and not good for them either," Bobby told Grow earlier this year.
Instead of repressing uncomfortable emotions, accept insecurity or self-doubt when they crop up. Then, instead of seeing these traits as negatives, try shifting your mindset about them. You could remind yourself, for instance, how common and even normal it is to feel this way.
Growing up, Chopra had "very low self-esteem," and she was "unsure of who she was" into her 20s. She still has vulnerabilities, but now she tries to learn from them "instead of feeling ashamed of them."
And instead of getting down on herself when she's feeling low or insecure, Chopra shifts her focus and practices gratitude and self-care. "Happiness lies in the smallest things, so if I'm feeling blue, I try to focus on the little things that make me feel good: I eat my favorite meal, apply an amazing moisturizer ...," she says. "I care about my family and my friends ... but I don't care about what everyone else thinks."
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