10 ways to overcome imposter syndrome at work

Maria Flores
June 22, 2022

Have you ever found yourself wondering, how you arrived at your current position at work? Or have you ever thought, if they knew the “real” you, they wouldn’t like you? Are you feeling disappointed in your personal or professional life? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, maybe you are suffering from imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon first described in the 1970s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. They identified it as a form of self-doubt or as an inability to accept success. It can be like your inner voice is telling you that your achievements are due to luck, good timing or just being in the right place at the right time. 

Imposter syndrome can happen at any time and in any setting, not just at work or when you have to perform in a professional capacity. But here we are going to give some tips to overcome feelings of inadequacy, plus how to gain more self-confidence in your work environment.

Talk about it: One of the best things you can do about these feelings is to make them known. Ask for professional help, or even find a couple of good friends or family to talk to about how you feel. 

Give yourself a break: Relax. If you feel like you should always know the answer, that you have to get everything done perfectly. Well, maybe it might be time to give yourself a break. Recognize that being wrong doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent or worthy of success, it just means you’re human.

Write a list of your accomplishments: Writing down everything that you have learned, done, and grown during your work experience can help you recognize how much you’ve done and helped you learn to feel a sense of pride in your accomplishments.

Picture your success: Imagine a big day at work is coming, maybe you’re preparing for a presentation or to have an important conversation at the office, take a few minutes to visualize your success. Think about what is the best that can happen and visualize yourself delivering a seamless performance. Imagine the look on everyone’s face when you deliver a well-thought message. Whatever it is that you have to do, flip the script on your failure, and think about your success.

Stop comparing yourself to others: People with this syndrome often fall into the trap of comparing their weaknesses with other people’s strengths, and what if instead of focusing on differences, you think about how the different abilities of your team members can add value, be important, help you accomplish team goals and can be a great opportunity for you to learn new skills for your professional career.  

Positive affirmations: The next time you hear that familiar voice that tells you that you’re not good enough try using some affirmations to put yourself back in control. Here are a few you can use: I am worthy - I am talented - I am smart - I deserve this

Keep a journal: Grab a journal and write down every activity you get done during the day, especially take notes about the good ideas you have or compliments you receive from colleagues. You can back to this when the inner voice hits hard on you.

Interrupt the pattern: This is an idea for the moments when you are feeling like a complete imposter. Instead of attempting to assume those thoughts as reality, interrupt the pattern. Take a break, eat candy, go for a little walk; sometimes changing the activity and breaking the line of thought, can help you get another perspective and helps you be kinder with yourself.

Set a new goal: It might be unrealistic to think that Imposter Syndrome will just go away. It might be time to set and reach a new goal for your career growth. Create a plan each day to get through the difficulties one by one, try to be better at your job little by little. It’s okay to have “imposter moments,” you just don’t want to live there.

Be a good friend to yourself: Pretend that you are an outsider in your life. What would you think of yourself in that situation? What compliments or support words will you give to a friend if is needed? This exercise could help you see things more objectively and kindly.

You are more than you think. Poor self-esteem can harm your career prospects and professional projection, simply by limiting your willingness to advocate for yourself, and you should be your best fan.

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