Even if outwardly you seem confident about your work and at ease carrying out every aspect of your job, there might be moments when you’re battling secret – and at times irrational and crippling - self-doubt beneath it all.
This is known as imposter syndrome, which tends to grip everyone at some point in their career - even if you’re still relatively new to the workplace and are starting to assume some extra responsibilities or duties as part of your role.
“I feel I don’t deserve my success”; “I feel out of my depth even though someone has trusted me to know what I’m doing”; “I dread being found out as a fraud” and “I’m not as competent as people think I am”. If you’ve ever thought any of these statements, you might be able to identify with this.
Feeling you’re just not good enough is common and natural, but if you don’t know how to deal with imposter syndrome there’s a chance it’ll turn you into your worst enemy and threaten to prevent you living up to your career potential.
Here are a few quick ways to turn the mood music around from “I’m just not good enough” to “Of course I can do this – and do this well”.
If you can learn to spot imposter syndrome in yourself when it crops up, you’ll have time to give yourself a reality check and get back on track. Perhaps there are times when you feel panic and know you should be feeling more positive about a situation, like when you’ve been given a promotion or being put into an exciting new project.
It could make all the difference just being able to tell yourself that even though you feel you can’t do something, it doesn’t mean that you actually can’t.
If you’re doubting your competence and aren’t sure if this is founded, find out more – and try to get to the root of how you’re feeling. Would taking concrete steps to improve yourself boost your confidence – and therefore banish imposter syndrome?
For example, perhaps gaining a particular skill or polishing up on one area of your job in particular could be all it takes.
Self-doubt gremlins hate being reminded about previous accomplishments. When you feel the rise of imposter syndrome, keep in mind any things you’ve done that you feel proud of at work, like your ability to take on new challenges and added responsibilities.
A fast track way to feel better about things? Remember that you’re almost certainly not the only person at work – or in your group of friends – who battles imposter syndrome.
As self-doubt is the default for the majority of people, not just you, you could even study any signs of it in others and glean any tricks and tips on how they deal with it.
You’ll probably never get over feelings of imposter syndrome, but that’s no reason to be crippled by it. Instead, learn to live with it and even work to channel it into a positive thing.
Although self-doubt could stop you achieving your potential, harnessed and properly managed it’s also something that can keep you motivated and working to your best.