It’s time to fire your imposter syndrome
Feel like you don’t deserve that raise? That you’re not good enough for your clients? Or you fooled everyone when you landed your new role?
It’s not just you. This type of self-doubt, often called imposter syndrome, affects three in five UK employees, but 94% don’t discuss it at work.
Imposter syndrome is the annoying back-seat driver with too many opinions that nobody asked for — and it’s a phenomenon that often stems from a lack of self-esteem in professional settings.
We know it may seem like this feeling will always steer you towards anxiety and doubt. But good news! We’ve compiled a list of seven things you can do to take back the wheel and regain control of your happiness at work…
1. Set realistic expectations
Going to your job thinking you have to go above and beyond to prove your worth isn’t sustainable.
Having realistic expectations for yourself means acknowledging your limitations and thinking of strategies to overcome them.
Is there a task you’re currently struggling with? Ask a colleague to brainstorm ideas with you. Spinning one too many plates? Chat with your supervisor about reprioritising your workload. Being a high performer shouldn’t mean you need to be constantly stressed, anxious and on the verge of burning out.
By establishing manageable goals, you can focus on incremental improvements and take small steps toward building your confidence and proving to your peers (and yourself) that you have what it takes to learn, grow and progress.
2. Don’t compete with others
Sometimes, low confidence can cause you to measure yourself against those around you — transfixing on their accomplishments whilst underestimating your own.
Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say. So, to become more self-assured, use yourself as a benchmark for success instead of comparing your ups and downs to someone else’s ‘best bits’.
Focus on your own career progression, looking back at how far you’ve come and setting targets for reaching your next goal — whatever it might be.
3. Break the workaholic habits
It’s pretty common for people with imposter syndrome to overcompensate by working harder than they already are. But is this a helpful strategy?
Pushing past your work hours and stretching yourself beyond your limits will only leave you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression and fatigue, making it harder for you to conquer your trespassing feelings of doubt.
There’ll always be more work to do: more briefs to finish, emails to send and deadlines to meet. But to overcome imposter syndrome, you should create boundaries by sticking to a regular work schedule, taking breaks and trying to slow down.
Not only will this help you feel more in control of your work-life balance, but it’ll also give you more energy to put your all into your role and responsibilities — helping ease some of those feelings of self-doubt.
4. Spend time on hobbies
Professionals experiencing imposter syndrome often feel the pressure to excel at work — and then let it trickle into other areas. In fact, almost six in 10 (58%) 18–24-year-olds say they feel stressed when they’re not succeeding in every aspect of their lives.
But not everything has to be about success, goals or competition — you can do things just for fun.
So, if you’re keen to tackle your feelings of self-doubt, finding fulfilling hobbies outside of your job is a great way to work on skills and build your self-esteem in less pressured, work-focused environments.
By socialising, exercising, creating or learning (just because you want to), you can build confidence in other avenues of your life, ultimately boosting your self-esteem at work.
5. Celebrate your wins
Have you handed in a project before the deadline? Received praise from a client or colleague? Or maybe you just had a great day at work and are pleased with your progress.
If you work within a team, share your accomplishments with them! If you work solo, shout about your achievements on LinkedIn or let your friends know you’ve done a great job.
Acknowledging your moments of triumph is a massive eye-opener for anyone fighting imposter syndrome. You won’t believe how much you’ve actually been accomplishing whilst those negative feelings have had you in the dark about your capabilities.
6. Welcome new opportunities
When presented with a new opportunity at work, do you often have one voice telling you not to go for it because you’re not good enough and another saying it’s made for you?
Guess which one is the imposter syndrome talking…
Don’t let your inner demons make you turn down an exciting opportunity when it comes by. If you feel like you can manage the workload and it’s something you’re passionate about pursuing, don’t be afraid to try new things to help you advance your career.
7. Create a support network
Leaning on your friends, family or colleagues for honest feedback reinforces all the positive attributes your imposter syndrome tries to bury.
By building trust with the people around you, you can rest assured you have a community to turn to for advice or inspiration. There’s no magic potion to eradicate your doubt, but openly communicating with trusted confidants is a great way to build back your confidence, learn from your peers and invite others who may share your struggles to open up.
That way, instead of feeling stuck or overwhelmed, you’ll have a network of supporters to uplift you when those pesky imposter feelings pop up uninvited…
Ready to tackle imposter syndrome head-on? Join our friendly community and benefit from monthly socials, health and well-being sessions and a calm, creative space to get your work done. Take a look at our coworking spaces in London today.