Dealing with imposter syndrome at work is a common but significant challenge. Employees and even the most accomplished business professionals suffer from imposter syndrome at least once during their careers. But what is it? And how do you overcome it? We share our top suggestions to combat imposter syndrome so you can succeed in your career and expand your business.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome stems from feelings of self-doubt, making you feel like you’re not deserving of your accomplishments and successes in your career. Imposter syndrome also makes you feel like a fraud who is deceiving colleagues into thinking you’re good at your job. These thoughts and feelings can negatively impact how your work and affect business operations.
How to overcome imposter syndrome?
The quicker you realise that you are experiencing imposter syndrome, the easier it is to overcome these self-limiting beliefs. It’s important to remain self-aware so you can start to see how imposter syndrome sneaks into your thoughts and replace them with confidence-building ones. Here are tips that can help you overcome imposter syndrome.
Do a fact check
Imposter syndrome is a mind trick. Your brain will tell you that you aren’t good at your job, but these thoughts are based on fear and imagination. Your mind can create stories that aren’t based on reality.
When this happens, try to remain focused on the facts. Track your success and run a fact check. Keep a journal and write down the things you’ve succeeded at. Keep a list of good things you’ve accomplished or better yet, write feedback you’ve received from others so you can read them whenever you’re in doubt. Reflecting on these will help shape how you see yourself versus believing the stories your mind is telling you.
Reframe your thoughts
Now that we know that our minds hold so much power, we can take back control by reframing our thoughts. If you suffer from negative self-talk, start monitoring your thoughts and reframe all the negatives and turn them into positives! While it may not have immediate results, reframing your thoughts can help you learn to accept your mistakes, validate your feelings, and let negative feelings go. When you reframe your mental language, you help rewire your brain to become more supportive.
Set realistic goals
To overcome imposter syndrome, you need to stop setting unattainable standards for yourself. Once you fail to reach these standards, you’ll blame yourself for your own limitations and the toxic cycle continues. Set realistic goals for yourself and accept that failure is all part of the process of learning.
Look for a mentor
There’ll be no room for feeling like an imposter if you know you’re actively improving your skills. A great way to improve your skills is by partnering with a good mentor. You can look for someone in your company who can give you practical advice and support. This way, nothing can budge you even when your mind tells you you’re not good enough because you know that you’re in the process of getting better.
Speak to a counsellor or a therapist
If you’re having difficulty confronting negative thoughts, you can seek professional help. Talk to a counsellor or hire a therapist. They can help you find the right cognitive behavioural therapy to overcome imposter syndrome symptoms.
Focus on what you can offer
Imposter syndrome can contribute to intrusive thoughts that make you feel threatened or emotionally exposed, which can negatively impact the way you work. Quiet the brain by focusing on what you can give in any work situation. If you’re thinking “What if my boss doesn’t like me” try to say “What do I have to offer on this job” or “Am I smart enough for this project?” to “What skills can I bring to this task?” Being conscious about your own strengths and what you can bring to the table is a good place to start when challenging negative thoughts.
Imposter syndrome can cause you to compare yourself to your colleagues and lead you to think you’re never going to be as good as they are. Whenever you feel tempted to compare, take a step back and see what you can learn from them. Instead of criticising yourself, try to learn from team members who are better at some things than you are. At the same time, you can also share talents and skills that will help them succeed in their roles.
Utilise feedback to be better
Feedback is a great way to make sure expectations are met. It also allows you to learn and develop in a growth-oriented way. Utilising feedback from others will help you achieve self-awareness and self-acceptance and develop habits that help maximise your full potential.
Find success outside of work
You can build confidence not just in the workplace. You need to get outside of your head and do activities that don’t involve your job. Join sports teams, non-profit organisations, and other personal workshops that you may be interested in to help you gain confidence. The lessons and skills you learn from the outside will translate well back into the office.
Recognise your accomplishments>
If you’re an employee, a bad day at work can seem like a big deal that will trigger negative thoughts. Try to focus not just on your day-to-day but see the bigger picture. Zoom out on your life and see the decades of work you’ve overcome and the accomplishments you’ve achieved along the way.
Fostering psychological well-being in the workplace
Imposter syndrome can happen to anyone in the workplace, but there are ways to reduce these feelings. If you’re a leader, manager, or business owner, you’re in a unique position to help combat imposter syndrome in the workplace. You can do this by supporting your employees and cultivating a positive work environment. Encourage your team to take a well-deserved vacation, acknowledging their accomplishments so you can foster a healthier work environment that will also be good for their mental wellbeing.
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