By Josh Toledo, Account Supervisor
Do you know that voice in your head that whispers, “you don’t deserve to be in the same room as these people! They’ve accomplished so much more than you — just wait till they find out the truth!” Well, that voice is a liar. You could be suffering from imposter syndrome, but what’s that?
In short, imposter syndrome is that nagging voice that makes you question if you deserve your accomplishments, even when you worked hard to get where you are. It is the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence, regardless of your success or achievements. And believe it or not, according to a report by InnovateMR, 65% of professionals suffer from it too.
So what’s the big deal with imposter syndrome? It sounds like it could push people to work harder. But the thing is, imposter syndrome is counterproductive. It produces anxiety, self-doubt, self-sabotage, and burnout. Imposter syndrome can affect your mental health, performance at work, and interpersonal relationships.
The mind is a powerful thing, and it can play tricks on you. But you are the master of the ship, and you can overcome the storm. Over the years, I have learned four tips to keep myself grounded, and I would like to share them with you.
Master your Inner Voice
Regulating your inner voice is an invaluable weapon against the evil of imposter syndrome. It can be difficult to stop the intrusive thoughts altogether, but it’s helpful to acknowledge when unwanted thoughts pop into your head because you can then reframe how you think.
When you can recognize intrusive thoughts, you can consciously reframe your mentality. For example, imposter syndrome can make it easy to berate yourself over a small mistake at work. The trick is to recognize when you’re falling into an unhealthy thought pattern and tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but so does everyone else. I will learn from this experience — it will not break me.”
A bit of self-awareness and a slightly cheesy pep-talk with yourself can go a long way in reshaping how you view yourself and your abilities.
Reach Out to a Trusted Individual
Another powerful tool in combating imposter syndrome is confiding in someone you trust. Lean on a friend, co-worker, or mentor to express your feelings. Oftentimes, expressing your frustrations, fears, and doubts can be liberating — bottling up your feelings allows them to fester. The trusted individual can lend support, advice, or a shared experience to remind you how much you’ve earned your success.
Ask For a Review
The thing with imposter syndrome is that your perception of your abilities isn’t based on reality. No matter how hard you work, you’ll never think it’s enough. But there is a practical way to get evidence to the contrary.
Reach out to your boss for a performance review. Your boss will provide an unbiased assessment of your performance to ground how you think about your work. A meeting with your supervisor will remove any misguided assessments you may have made for yourself. It will also provide a path forward to ensure your continued success.
Celebrate Your Wins, Even the Small Ones
Finally, never hesitate to celebrate your wins, even the small ones. You work hard, and it’s important to acknowledge that. Your win for the day could be securing front-page coverage on a major news publication or getting to work on time — recognize and celebrate it!
It won’t be every day that you’ll achieve a major milestone, but that’s perfectly normal. Find things throughout your day to be proud of yourself for, and allow your confidence to flourish.
If you take one thing from this blog, I hope it’s to be kind to yourself. Remember that perfection is a concept, not a goal. You have accomplished so much already — recognize that. Your employer hired you for a reason. Someone believed in your capabilities, and you should too. Allow yourself the freedom and grace to grow. It can be easy to be your own worst enemy, but it’s amazing what you can do when you become your biggest cheerleader.