Many individuals suffer from what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’ at least once during their lifetime. So if you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong at work or don’t deserve your job, you aren’t alone! Here are our favourite tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome?
“People with imposter syndrome have a sense of inadequacy, “dismiss their achievements, and are very critical of themselves,” says Dr Pei-Han Cheng. “Most of the time, they don’t have an accurate understanding of how competent they are because “their mind is clouded by this belief that ‘I am a fraud.”
Imposter syndrome involves unfounded feelings of self-doubt and incompetence. To counter these feelings, you might work harder and hold yourself to higher standards. Unfortunately, Imposter syndrome can put a lot of pressure on yourself and affect your emotional well-being and performance. There are five types of imposter syndrome.
The Rise in Imposter Syndrome
The pandemic situation in 2020 caused a rise in imposter syndrome. 47% of knowledge workers worldwide reported feelings of imposter syndrome increasing in 2020.
Tips for Combating Imposter Syndrome
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
To overcome imposter syndrome, you must pay attention to your negative feelings. If you identify imposter feelings, talking about them to a trusted friend or mentor about your distress can help you get some outside context. Sharing your feelings can also feel less overwhelming and encourages your peers to do the same, allowing you to realise you aren’t alone in your feelings.
There can also be some encouragement from realising that many successful people have built outstanding careers while coping with imposter syndrome.
Furthermore, when these thoughts arise – acknowledge them as a thought, not facts.
2. Keep track of your accomplishments and strengths
It is easy to focus on your weaknesses, and you might neglect to focus on your strengths and achievements. Try making a list of skills and accomplishments that make you uniquely qualified for your job, and keep this at the top of your mind when you are having a bad day.
You could also review some of your recent projects and your work and see if your feelings are based on fact. Then, use these facts every time the voice in your brain tells you that you aren’t good enough.
Another way to inoculate yourself against those negative thoughts is to keep a work journal where your write any positive feedback you’ve received.
3. Find a mentor or support network
We all find ourselves in new situations at some point in our careers. Identifying a good mentor who’s been there before can make all the difference – they can offer insights, support and encouragement.
The worst thing you can do for your imposter syndrome is to isolate yourself. Instead, you should work to build relationships with your co-workers so that you have people to lean on for support.
Furthermore, nurture your relationship with your boss. Don’t wait for an annual performance review to get your boss’s work assessment. Once you have built a trusted network, you won’t be afraid to ask your co-workers for guidance if you’re unsure how to tackle a project.
4. Learn from your peers
A common symptom of imposter syndrome is comparing yourself to your peers and believing you are worse at your job than they are. While it’s tempting to compare yourself, there are things you can do to reframe your feelings.
The next time you feel tempted to compare yourself to your peers, take a step back and see what you can learn from them. You will undoubtedly find that team members have strengths in certain areas you don’t and vice versa. However, this doesn’t make you better or worse but creates an excellent opportunity to learn from one another.
5. Accept it
As you work through your impostor phenomenon, it will begin to interfere less with your well-being. However, taming your imposter feelings doesn’t mean the feelings will never show up again. Impostor feelings can arise at any career shift, especially if the people you are surrounded by have different achievements.
Related: Top 10 Tips for Working From Home
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