Do you feel like a phony while you’re at work? Perhaps you think you don’t match your colleagues’ experience and expertise. Or, you might feel like you haven’t earned the spot you’re in and therefore don’t deserve it.
This phenomenon is known as imposter syndrome, and unfortunately, it’s very common. According to a 2020 study, anywhere from nine to 82 percent of people experience this phenomenon in their lifetime. It’s super common in professional settings, yet not enough people talk about it.
Imposter syndrome causes you to doubt your skills and feel inferior to those around you, especially in the workplace. The more it takes over, the more difficult it is to feel confident about your abilities and succeed.
At work, imposter syndrome can look like:
- Turning down opportunities
- Rejecting praise on your performance
- Refusing to ask for help
- Overworking until you experience burnout
If you want to overcome imposter syndrome, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Stop The Doubt in Its Tracks
It can be challenging to get rid of the intrusive thoughts that cross your mind. Once they’re planted, it’s hard not to ruminate on them over and over. Imposter syndrome causes you to focus on your weaknesses, whether they’re real or imagined.
So, it’s crucial to learn how to stop harmful thoughts in their tracks. The more they occur, the easier it is to believe them and add them to your everyday thought process. The sooner you stop doubting yourself, the sooner you can overcome imposter syndrome and accomplish your goals.
When harmful thoughts start to creep up, stop them and focus on something else. It’s important to be patient with yourself. This is a process that takes time and consistent effort. You’ll likely find the same recurring thoughts pop up, but gently focusing on other, more positive aspects will help you retrain your brain.
Acknowledge Your Strengths
When you focus on the negatives, it’s difficult to remember the positives. It’s easier to talk yourself down than to remind yourself of all the great things you’re capable of. But it’s important to do so you can overcome imposter syndrome and develop your confidence.
Make a list of the things you’re good at, specifically at work. What makes you stand out from your colleagues? What do you bring to the table that you refused to recognize before?
Your list doesn’t have to consist only of big accomplishments. It could include things like:
- Consistently meeting deadlines
- Completing a project
- Using communication skills
- Learning a new task
- Running a meeting
The small strengths are still strengths, and when you focus on those, they’re easier to build on so you can excel even further. If someone pays you a compliment, don’t deny it. Instead, say thank you and acknowledge that what they’re saying is true.
Accept Failure as Normal
Though it may not always feel like it, failure is normal and everyone experiences it. It doesn’t matter that you fail, but it does matter that you get back up and keep trying until you succeed. If people gave up after the first few tries of doing anything, no one would be an expert.
Accepting failure as normal also prevents burnout because you can acknowledge that it’s okay to fail. When it happens, and it will, it won’t feel like the world is ending or that you’re the worst candidate for the job. It’s easier to shrug off the little things and move on because you know you’ll succeed as long as you persevere.
When you stumble or come across a difficult task at work, remind yourself that it’s okay and you’ll do better next time. Be gentle and kind to yourself the same way you’d act with a friend who was experiencing the same thing. The more encouragement you give yourself, the easier it is to pick yourself back up.
If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, these tips are sure to help you take the first steps to change those thought patterns. They can be destructive to your emotional intelligence and make you doubt your talents and abilities at work. But with active effort and patience, you can overcome it and feel better about your accomplishments as well as your failures. How do you deal with imposter syndrome?