“What am I doing here?”
“When will they find out I don’t belong?”
“They’re going to find out that I don’t know what I’m doing.”
The above words and questions are often haunting as you navigate the workplace, regardless of how long you’ve worked there or held your position. Imposter syndrome is incredibly common, and can often plant seeds of doubt that taint the idea of your own individual contributions and talents as an employee.
Imposter syndrome can be both debilitating and cause you to wonder if your higher-ups are ever going to “find out” that you “don’t belong”. Over 70% of people will experience these feelings, due to this phenomenon, at some point within their working careers. Especially as we have moved to remote work as a result of this pandemic, imposter syndrome can be amplified. Working from home can cause employees to feel less connected and as a result, hesitate to ask more questions or get the reassurance that they need. With the uncertainty of the future due to firing, furloughing, and layoffs, those feelings of doubt can feel much heavier and it can feel as though your thoughts of being an imposter are confirmed. However, it is important to stay positive and remember the value you bring to the workplace.
If you are someone who struggles with thoughts of “not belonging”, whether that be in your chosen field, position, company, etc., the challenge comes with combating these feelings, and ditching the negative self-talk and instead, appreciating what you bring to the table.
Believe in your Skills & Capabilities
A notion to grasp tightly as you actively dispute these thoughts of being “found out as a fraud” is to remember that you were chosen for a reason. If you are currently at a company or are in a role that may be too big for your britches, remember that this company has chosen you specifically to fulfill that role. They wouldn’t have hired you if they felt as though you weren’t capable to function and grow within that role. Your skills and your capabilities as an individual have put you on a particular path to success and you must believe in yourself, your ideas, your skillset, your individuality, as well as those attributes that set you apart from the crowd. Recognize imposter syndrome when it’s emerging and actively work to highlight some of your best contributions, skills, and special talents that you bring to the workplace.
Reflect on Past Achievements
Adding onto the first tip, when you are actively thinking about your individual capabilities, also remember to reflect on your previous achievements, no matter how big or small. Allowing yourself to remember those achievements you have obtained in your career or personal life can combat those negative feelings of being “a fake”, and bring to light the wonderful accomplishments that make you an asset as an employee. Reminiscing on your past achievements can also give you the motivation to put forth more great work, and allow you to wake up in the morning and stop doubting your talents, abilities and creativity.
Request Detailed Feedback
If all else fails, for those who are dealing with an intense case of imposter syndrome, it can be valuable to seek out the opinions or feedback on your work from managers or higher-ups. Imposter syndrome leaves behind doubt and worry, which can only breed more doubt in your work and perhaps result in poor-quality delivery in the workplace. In order to squash those feelings and face the situation head-on, consider approaching your higher-ups and requesting detailed feedback on what you have done well and what you can improve upon. This can give you a greater scope on how they’re feeling about your work, and how you can put your best foot forward from here on out. Asking for feedback can also put your mind at ease, as employers, managers, or other staff can identify the ways in which you are helping the business run smoothly, or how your work has positively impacted the business.
Undoubtedly, imposter syndrome can cause mental blocks, and allow you to believe that you don’t bring anything valuable to the table. However, employees are the back-bone of any successful business, so you are more vital than you know, especially when working remotely during this pandemic. Thus, it is imperative to shake off the negative self-talk and instead, learn to embrace your talents and contributions.