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How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome at Work

How to deal with imposter syndrome at work

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that is experienced by many people in the workplace. It can be detrimental to both your personal and professional life because constantly feeling like you are unqualified or unsuitable for your job can cause significant anxiety and even depression. Knowing how to deal with imposter syndrome at work can help you to overcome feelings of inadequacy and help you to feel confident in your role.

In this article, we will explain 13 strategies to overcome imposter syndrome that will help you to succeed at work.

1. Fake It Until You Make it

The first way to overcome imposter syndrome is to act as if you are confident, even if you don’t feel that way. This means putting on a brave face and pretending that you know what you are doing, even if you are convinced you are underqualified or feeling completely out of your depth. Faking it until you make it can help to build your confidence over time and eventually make the feelings of insecurity go away.

When starting out in a new job or role, try to pretend that you are an expert and hopefully people will believe you until you actually gain the expertise you need. Acting confidently can also help you to mask any doubts or insecurities that you may have about your abilities. By telling yourself that you are capable of succeeding in your job, it will give you the boost of confidence that you need to get through difficult times.

2. Reflect on Your Success and Achievements

The next thing to do when you are feeling overwhelmed is to look back at what you have already achieved in your life and career so that you can remind yourself of your success so far. This can help to give build your self-confidence and remind yourself that you are capable of being successful in your current position, even though you are experiencing difficulties at the moment.

Look back at your accomplishments, no matter how big or small, and write them down so that you have them to hand whenever you need a little extra encouragement. In those moments when you feel like an imposter at work, remind yourself of your career journey so far and why you were hired or promoted in the first place. Focusing on your successes rather than your failures can help to give you a more positive outlook and provide you with a boost in morale and self-esteem.

3. Focus On What You Can Do

Rather than just thinking about what you can’t do or becoming obsessed with areas of your job where you aren’t completely confident, instead, try focusing on the things that you do feel confident about. This may be a very small part of your job, but it will help to give you a more positive view of yourself and remind you of the qualities that you bring to your role.

When you are feeling unsure about yourself, especially if you are in a new role or company, it can be easy to become negative or self-critical. Choosing a mantra that reaffirms your faith in your own abilities can help to keep imposter syndrome at bay in these difficult early moments. Some useful mantras may include “I am capable”, ” I can do this” or “I am exactly where I should be”. They may sound a little cheesy, but a little positive reinforcement can be very effective in providing the confidence boost that you need when you are feeling unsure about yourself.

fill gaps in your knowledge

4. Fill Gaps in Your Knowledge

If you are feeling unqualified or insecure about your job because there are gaps in your knowledge, the easiest solution is to simply fill those gaps as soon as possible. This can be done by taking an online course, reading up on an unfamiliar topic or even just seeking advice from more experienced colleagues.

Even though you may not want others to know you are struggling, you should consider telling your manager or boss about any areas where you feel insecure or unqualified. This will help them to understand where you need development or extra training so that they can provide you with the support you need.

It is important to remember that no one knows everything and everyone has room for growth, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Seek out help and resources when needed and continue learning as much as possible and you will have the confidence you need to excel.

5. Be First in and Last Out

Once you have the skills and knowledge that your job requires, it is important to put those things into practice. The single best way to do this is by working hard and staying late when necessary so that you can complete all your tasks on time and also show your colleagues and superiors that you are willing to go the extra mile.

This dedication and commitment will not only help you to get ahead at work but will also help to boost your confidence and self-esteem because you will feel like you are succeeding at something. When you put in the extra effort, it shows that you take pride in what you do and gives others a reason to respect your work ethic too.

Try to be first in every morning and last one out at night and you will soon see find yourself climbing the career ladder. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself out by overworking and that you take advantage of any well-earned rest time to recharge your batteries.

6. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

If you are feeling like an imposter because you haven’t achieved as much as your colleagues or business partners, it is crucial that you set yourself reasonable targets and don’t undervalue your own achievements. There is an expression that says, “Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle” which is very useful advice if you are suffering from imposter syndrome. It means that everyone progresses at different rates, and so judging yourself against others is not helpful or productive, particularly if you are comparing yourself to older or more experienced people.

Give yourself the time you need to grow into your role by setting realistic goals for yourself that are actually achievable. This will enable you to gain much-needed confidence boosts every time hit one of your goals and help you to feel like you are the right person for the job. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect miracles overnight.

7. Ask a Mentor for Help

Getting mentorship from a more experienced colleague can be incredibly helpful for overcoming imposter syndrome because it will give you the guidance and support that you need to succeed. By taking on a mentor who is good at what they do, you will be able to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to further your career.

The best mentor to seek out is someone who has been in your position before so that that you have a reliable point of contact if any questions or problems come up. They will be able to guide you through difficult moments so that you are more confident at work. Some potential mentors include your boss, a colleague who is more experienced than you or an industry expert. Don’t be afraid to ask around for recommendations or even reach out to people you admire on social media.

Learn from mistakes

8. Learn From Failures and Mistakes

Another useful expression that can help you if you have imposter syndrome is “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo”. This means that you should not be discouraged by your failures and mistakes as they are only temporary. Everybody makes mistakes or fails at some time in their life or career, so you are definitely not alone in this.

Instead of dwelling on your errors, learn from them and use that knowledge to move forward. This way, you will slowly but surely start to improve your skills and become more confident in yourself. Every mistake is an opportunity for growth so make the most of them.

9. Surround Yourself With the Right People

If you are feeling down or anxious, it is important to be around people who will support and encourage you. This means that you should avoid hanging out with negative people who will only bring you down and make you feel worse about yourself.

Associate yourself with positive individuals who will help to build your confidence up. These people can come in the form of friends, family members, colleagues or mentors. When you are feeling overwhelmed or out of your depth, this support network will be invaluable.

Remember that you should also aim to be a person that others can turn to when they are struggling. Not only will this help that person, but it can also be a confidence boost for you when you realise that other people are seeking out your advice and support.

10. Lean On Your Teams

Imposter syndrome often occurs when someone gets a promotion or is recruited to a managerial position for the first time. Having a team working under you can be daunting, particularly if you are already feeling out of your depth.

Try to learn the strengths of each member of your team and utilise them as much as possible so that you can delegate tasks more efficiently. This will help everyone to improve their skills and feel valued which will also help to take some pressure off you.

Some new leaders are worried that if they ask the people under them for advice or input, they will lose respect or their team members will think they are not up to the job. In actual fact, your team will embrace the opportunity to impress you with their knowledge and skills so never be afraid to ask.

11. Build Your Confidence Outside the Office

This might sound like an odd piece of advice but it is very important! When you go home at night after a long day’s work, don’t dwell on your insecurities or doubts. Instead, focus on the things that you are good at and enjoy outside of work.

This can be anything from cooking a delicious meal, playing sport or spending time with family and friends. The more confidence you have in yourself away from work, the more likely you are to bring that confidence into the office with you. This will help you to feel better about yourself and perform at your best when it matters most.

Reward Yourself

12. Reward Yourself

Imposter syndrome can be very demoralising, so it can be very useful to have a reward system in place to help you stay motivated. This could be something as simple as treating yourself to a coffee or cake after completing a task, or taking a weekend break once you have achieved something important at work.

Whatever works for you, make sure that you are regularly rewarding yourself for all the hard work that you are doing. This will help to keep your morale high and prevent you from feeling like a fraud. Different people judge their own success in different ways. Identify what is important to you and reward yourself when you hit those goals.

13. Embrace It!

At the end of the day, imposter syndrome is just another name for self-doubt. We all experience this at some point in our lives and it is completely normal. What’s important is that we don’t let this doubt hold us back from achieving our goals.

Next time you start to feel like an imposter, remember that these feelings are normal and everybody experiences them at some point. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there is no shame in admitting that you are struggling. Just keep moving forward and eventually, the doubts will start to fade away.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling with how to deal with imposter syndrome at work, these thirteen tips should help you to feel more confident and perform to your best. Remember, nobody is perfect so don’t be too hard on yourself. Celebrate your successes, learn from your failures and keep pushing yourself forwards. As long as you stay calm and work hard, you’ll be able to achieve great things in your career!


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