Navigating Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

Imposter Syndrome

“I am not good at my job!”

“I am not qualified for this position!”

“What if they think I am incompetent?”

Do any of these statements seem familiar? Imposter Syndrome is a trending topic in the workplace and many people struggle with these fraudy thoughts.

Perhaps you recognize the feelings that go with Imposter Syndrome but didn’t know the scientific term. Imposter Syndrome often creates feelings of doubt about who we are and what we are capable of. It doesn’t just prey on those with low confidence, as it can creep in even for high-performing, experienced, qualified, and successful individuals. When Imposter Syndrome takes over, you feel as though you are wearing a mask to help maintain the image of competence so no one can see through your actions and see them in the way you see yourself; A fraud. The fear of being discovered as a fraud or imposter, can be overwhelming and lead to holding yourself back in your career and life. On the flip side, it can lead to overwork, overpreparing, ultimately leading to burnout, and other career setbacks.

The good news is you can take steps to quiet Imposter Syndrome (also known as the inner critic) before it shows up.

Remember that Imposter Syndrome is your perception and that others likely see your competence differently.


5 Tips for Navigating Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace 

1 – Look back at all your experiences and successes. Recognize the important, valuable, and/or unique contributions you’ve made. Consider asking a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor what their perspective is of you. Don’t downplay your accomplishments.

2 – Think back to a time when you felt like an imposter. What triggered it? Did you feel “different” from others in the room? Was it a high-pressure situation? Was it a time of change and uncertainty? Reflect and identify any potential triggers.

3 – Prepare a mental toolkit for yourself. Recognize your triggers so you can identify when imposter syndrome shows up. Acknowledge the inner critic, but equally notice and give credit to all your strengths, successes, contributions, and value you’ve delivered.

4 – Be compassionate with yourself. Remember, most of us feel this way sometimes, and none of us are perfect nor perfectly qualified for the experiences we step into. You can build on what you already know and learn the rest along the way.

5 – Support others. You are not alone in this, and others need to hear that too. Be vulnerable and share your examples with others. Hearing from others about their struggles and what worked for them will help you.

We all deal with Imposter Syndrome. Be kind and patient with yourself. And when you notice those inner critic thoughts creeping in, you can reframe them to speak truth about who you are and what you can achieve.


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