How to overcome imposter syndrome at work


Imposter syndrome might be a familiar phrase to those battling internal conflicts about their intellect and ability. However, if you’ve never heard of the term, here’s how acclaimed psychologists define it:


“Imposter phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.”


This specific and recurring feeling of self-doubt can lead to anxiety and even depression. At the very least, imposter syndrome can impact your career causing you to say no to opportunities, avoid feedback and experience burnout on a regular basis.


So, how can you stop feeling like a fraud and start celebrating your successes? Here are our five favourite tips for overcoming imposter syndrome––for good.


1. Normalise it


Speak to friends, colleagues and connections about imposter syndrome and listen to their experiences. Opening up to others will help you to understand that a small dose of self-doubt is normal and isn’t an indication that you can’t do your job. If imposter syndrome is stopping you from achieving an ambitious career goal, a mentor can also help to contextualise the ups and downs of any professional journey.


2. List your strengths


Write a list of your skills and positive attributes as a physical reminder of your capabilities. When self-doubt sets in, revise this list to return to more objective ways of thinking. Better yet, start your day by reading them aloud as affirmations.


3. Accept praise


Learn to actively accept praise and stop brushing off compliments. Can’t do it for you? Do it for the compliment giver who will feel rejected by your dismissive response. Keep a record of this positive feedback as well as bookmarking emails, reviews and certificates as evidence of your success.


4. Don’t let your mistakes define you


Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone holds onto them. Don’t let a mistake make you feel like the failure instead see it as a powerful learning tool. What can you learn from the event? How can it improve your future?


5. Find your confidence


Gaining confidence is no easy feat. That said, building inner confidence is a key area for growth for anyone struggling with imposter syndrome. In time, setting your sights on personal strengths, worthiness and self-care will give you the tools you need to break negative thinking cycles. Pursuing an empowering hobby, taking a reflective trip, journaling and therapy are all viable options to boost confidence both in and out of the workplace.


Overcoming imposter syndrome is far from easy. Yet, putting in the effort to reach out to others, make fairer assessments of yourself and increase your confidence can have a huge pay-off. While no one is immune to bad days at the office or the sinking feeling of self-doubt, people without imposter syndrome are much more open to opportunities and optimistic about the future.

Need some independent career advice free from the niggling voice in your head? We’re here to help. Lupa Recruitment is a tried-and-trusted health and social care recruitment agency that helps job hopefuls to find a career match made in heaven. Contact our expert team for an immediate consultation.


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