You might have heard of the phenomenon of imposter syndrome, but how much do you know about what it is? To put it simply, imposter syndrome is where individuals doubt their abilities and feel like a fraud despite evidence showing otherwise. It’s usually found in the workplace, but imposter syndrome can affect you in any aspect of your life.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is more than just doubting yourself every once in a while, it’s a pattern of behaviour that sees you doubt your abilities, to the point that it begins to impact your wellbeing. If you have imposter syndrome, you probably find it difficult to feel worthy of your professional success. You might discount positive feedback, dismiss your accomplishments and worry about someone finding out that you’re a fraud.
The Signs of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome and self doubt showcases itself in various ways, and your symptoms might present themselves differently to someone else. Some of the most common signs of imposter syndrome include feelings of inadequacy, a fear of failure and the worry of being exposed as a fraud at work. You might minimise your accomplishments or view your achievements as a fluke.
A lot of people who suffer with imposter syndrome set excessively high standards for themselves, or overwork to compensate for their perceived inadequacy. You will probably compare yourself to others and feel inferior. You might stress and worry about maintaining the facade that you have created, despite being capable of doing a good job.
Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace
- Focus on Your Strengths – If you find yourself doubting your abilities, take a moment to focus on your strengths. Instead of thinking about the things that you are less than perfect at, think about the things that you really succeed in. Imposter syndrome in the workplace is centred on feeling like you are not good enough, but remembering your skills and abilities can help to keep the negative thoughts at bay.
- Realise That Failure is Normal – Though self doubt rarely has any truth behind it, it’s important to remember that failure is normal. Everyone struggles at times and everyone has made mistakes at work. In fact, most people have feelings of imposter syndrome at one point or another. Everyone faces challenges at work, so embrace failure. Instead of feeling inadequate and ‘less than’, use failure as a way to learn and improve going forward.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Support – You’re not the first person to struggle with self doubt and imposter syndrome, and you certainly won’t be the last. Share these feelings with friends, family or colleagues. You will soon see that other people doubt their abilities too. Talking to others will give you an outside perspective of your abilities and remind you of your capabilities, achievements and strengths professionally.
- Document Your Positive Feedback – It’s a good idea to document your positive feedback, which you can then look at when you’re struggling with self doubt. Building confidence has a lot to do with what others think of your abilities, so keep a record of feedback and positive reviews. When your feelings of being an imposter arise, remind yourself of the faith others have in you.
Strategies for Building Confidence at Work
- Set Achievable Goals – One of the best ways to build confidence at work is to set achievable goals. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a long list of things to do, so break down large goals into small, manageable chunks. As you accomplish something, you will notice a boost in your confidence. This will give you the drive to continue on.
- Seek Professional Development – There are a lot of professional development opportunities out there, so take advantage of these. Investing in your professional growth is an effective way to boost your confidence and develop more faith in yourself. You could take a course, attend a conference, sign up to a workshop or pursue more training. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to ignore self doubt.
- Take on New Challenges – Imposter syndrome in the workplace can make it difficult to step out of your comfort zone, even though this is one of the best things that you can do to build confidence. Take on new challenges and prove to yourself that you’re capable of doing more.
- Practice Self Care – Though self-care is not directly related to business, taking time for yourself can help to manage the feeling of not being good enough. Make time to rest, eat well and do things that you enjoy doing. This could be playing a sport, hanging out with friends, spending time with family or getting stuck into a new hobby. Self-care can leave you feeling focused and confident as a person, which will be reflected in the workplace.
Have you suffered with imposter syndrome in the workplace, or perhaps you still do? Get in touch and share how you overcame the doubt.