Feel like a fraud at work? You probably have Imposter syndrome

Ditch the shame and guilt – getting rid of Imposter Syndrome

Let’s imagine you’re at a meeting, surrounded by your equally qualified, similarly experienced colleagues. You listen to the conversation and think of a few great ideas, but you don’t speak up. Your train of thought goes something like this: ‘I’m sure my ideas aren’t worth mentioning’ or ‘I’m not as smart as Susan so I won’t embarrass myself by saying anything’. If you’ve ever had these thoughts you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a collection of negative feelings and thoughts of inadequacy or feeling like a fraud, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. There are several theories on how it manifests. Some research suggests that certain labels placed on us by our parents are the root cause, while others think an inconsistent parenting style, either praising or alternatively criticizing, could result in feelings of less self-worth.

In a ground breaking study done this year (2019) by Clare Josa, the results show that it’s not a gender related issue. “49% of male- and 52% of female respondents had struggled with Imposter Syndrome ‘regularly’ or ‘daily’ in the past year.” The fact is that most of use experience it at some point, but for some it’s a constant struggle. It can trigger feelings of fear, stress and anxiety. It affects performance, team dynamics and ultimately the bottom line.

So how can you tackle this?

Celebrate your successes

Often people who go through this experience sees their accomplishments as a stroke of luck or the other guy’s great work. They don’t take credit where credit is due. Stop feeling guilty or unworthy. Own it and bask in the warmth of great results.

Remember you’re not alone

This is a widespread issue that affect many people, but very few are willing to talk about it. Speaking up and knowing that it’s okay to admit these feelings, and it can be hugely freeing. It could also broaden your network and put you in touch with people you may never have thought of interacting with previously.

Positive reframing

You’ve convinced yourself that you are not good enough or don’t deserve the promotion. These negative thoughts are also called saboteurs. If that’s possible, then convincing yourself of the opposite should be equally doable. Reframing is a technique used to help create a different way of looking at situations, people, or relationships by changing its meaning. An example would be instead of procrastinating because of fear of failure you could ask ‘what small part of the task could I achieve right now’ to get you moving forward. Or when you feel like a fraud you could say and could say ‘I might not know everything about this, but I got the job for a reason.’

Stop comparing,

When we compare ourselves to other it opens the door to feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure. More often than not the comparisons we make are unjust. Maybe you have impossibly high standards and feel like you’re not measuring up? Who could, no one’s perfect? Close that door, it’s a recipe for disaster. Focus instead on bringing your unique gifts and strengths into the world.

Imposter Syndrome can damage your career by limiting your ability to seek out new opportunities and promotions. It affects relationships with others and increases self-confidence issues. Remember that everyone is in the same boat. None of your colleagues know everything, you all landed in the same business and work on projects together for a reason. If you’re experiencing the effects of Imposter syndrome it means you have some degree of success in your life. Turn that into gratitude for who you are and what you’ve managed to accomplish and ditch the shame and guilt for good!

If you feel the effects of Imposter sydrome, please get in touch for a free introductory meeting to discuss how we can tackle this together.