Imposter Syndrome at Work: 4 Strategies to Battle It Out

Imposter Syndrome at Work: 4 Strategies to Battle It Out

Do you ever feel like you’ve tricked your employers into hiring you, and you’re just a mastermind fraud with a bit of luck?

Regardless of the fact you went through a four-stage interviewing process, and you receive incredible feedback every day, you still feel as though you’re an imposter.

This is imposter syndrome, and it’s estimated that 70% of us have felt imposter syndrome in the workplace.

How does imposter syndrome affect us?

Imposter syndrome in the workplace can affect us in a variety of ways.

Firstly, it can stop you from progressing. Picture this...

It’s your weekly catch-up meeting, and everyone is sharing their innovative suggestions. You want to share your idea but a little voice in the back of your mind is saying “When I speak or share my idea it will be bad, and they will know I’m an imposter”.

So instead you drink your coffee, nod your head and say “Nothing new from me this week.” Your idea never gets to see the light of day, and you start to procrastinate until the next meeting comes around.

Secondly, imposter syndrome can affect how we apply for jobs. It can make us feel under-qualified, which can prevent us from applying for the jobs we deserve. Most commonly, it can prevent us from sharing our achievements when writing our resume or talking in an interview.

What is imposter syndrome and where did it come from?

Imposter syndrome is a form of anxiety, and anxiety is a high level of adrenaline our body creates when we’re feeling scared - fight or flight. Imposter syndrome is not always directly linked to low self-esteem or depression, most of us who feel imposter syndrome in the workplace live a healthy lifestyle.

Imposter syndrome doesn’t discriminate, it happens to all of us…

As a Career Counselor, I have worked with various high-level clients; including Directors for A-list celebrity events and Vice Presidents for multi-billion dollar companies. During the first call, I always spend time explaining how we can present our career achievements, and I’m always surprised by how many clients struggle with this process. It’s a realization that no matter how high up you are in your career, imposter syndrome in the workplace is rife.

We can’t always stop imposter syndrome, but we can learn to understand it and handle imposter syndrome in our way.

How to get over imposter syndrome at work

Here are a few tips you can use when dealing with imposter syndrome in the workplace.

Talk about it

When we’re experiencing imposter syndrome, it’s very easy for us to feel isolated and alone. Sometimes we’ll sit at our desk and watch our colleagues hit all their targets and say the right things, which can lead us to compare ourselves to them.

We start to think there’s no way they would ever feel the same type of doubt, but actually, we don’t know what they’re thinking. Perhaps they’re also feeling imposter syndrome, and they’re comparing themselves to you!

Next time you feel imposter syndrome in the workplace, find a good colleague to talk with and tell them about it. If not a colleague, have a friend or family member you can message. Getting these thoughts out will make you feel a lot better.

Exercise

As I mentioned before, imposter syndrome is a form of anxiety, and anxiety is a high level of adrenaline our body creates when we’re feeling scared. It goes back to cavemen days when we would be faced with a big animal about to attack us. Our body would feel the fear, then create adrenaline to combat ourselves against the fight.

Nowadays, we don’t have saber-toothed tigers trying to eat us. Instead, we have job interviews to battle and meetings to present. Our body still creates the adrenaline, but we have nowhere to place that extra energy.

A solution is to go for a walk around the block and shake it out. You’d be surprised how much clearer your head will feel.

Write out your achievements

I always tell my clients that resume writing should not be a stressful process, it’s a confidence boost. Take a moment out of your day and start writing some points you’re most proud of in your career. There’s an outcome behind everything. What you need to do is grasp that outcome and realize your own achievements. This is what we like to call, writing through the lens of achievement.

Take it as a sign of success


Lastly, take solace in the fact that imposter syndrome is a symptom of success. Most of us feel imposter syndrome in the workplace when we’ve reached a high-level role we thought we’d never achieve. Take a moment to recognize your successes. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are in your career, and there’s nothing wrong with letting yourself feel proud.