Careers

Four tips to ward off impostor syndrome

From Nature Careers

Thanks to Katrina Wright for sharing their work on Unsplash.

During my career as a laboratory manager and mentor, I’ve known plenty of researchers who’ve been quick to devalue their accomplishments, or to worry that a supervisor’s congratulations were prompted more by kindness than by genuine admiration. Often, those same researchers feel that a ridiculously misguided criticism — from anyone — is a fair assessment of their abilities.

Whether you’re a student, a postdoc, a staff scientist or a faculty member, ‘impostor syndrome’ makes every research challenge and setback a little harder to navigate. When dealing with a capricious technique, a difficult experimental design or a nullified hypothesis, a full-on bout of impostor syndrome can undermine your confidence and ability to make decisions. At worst, it’s emotionally destructive, leads to burnout and affects your physical and mental health. And even when a research project is going well, impostor syndrome can loom up again and make you feel incapable or unworthy of accomplishing your goals.

Although you might never eliminate all feelings produced by this emotional saboteur, you can adopt tactics that will reduce the frequency and intensity of its attacks on your self-esteem. For many researchers, the most realistic goal is living without its effects most days, and managing the symptoms when it rears its ugly head on the bad ones.

Here are four tips to help protect yourself against these insidious attacks.


Read the article in full for four tips to help protect yourself against these insidious attacks on the Nature Careers Blog – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02408-z

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