Imposter syndrome is a pattern of self-doubt that can lead to anxiety, stress, and missed opportunities. If not properly addressed, it can become a larger issue and lead to a decline in the performance of employees. Imposter syndrome is a result of high-performing employees questioning their worth in their role due to their drive for excellence and perfection. While having the desire to achieve perfection can be a good thing, it can also cause a rise in stress levels, which can ultimately result in mistakes or decreased confidence in the workplace. 

Imposter syndrome is a growing issue, especially when starting a new role. It's important to recognize the signs of imposter syndrome, so you can better spot it in the workplace and find ways to work with those who are experiencing this. Continue reading for some tips on how to navigate imposter syndrome, so you can decrease the occurrence of it in the workplace. 

Become Aware of Your Feelings

Imposter syndrome can take on many different forms. One of the more common signs of imposter syndrome is feeling like you’re a fraud or under qualified. Oftentimes, the feeling of being a fraud most likely comes from setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, while comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others can lead to self-doubt, which can result in negative effects on your work. It might be challenging to avoid comparing yourself to others, especially if you’re comparing with someone who has the same role as you, but it’s important to not put yourself down in the process. 

Those who are dealing with imposter syndrome may try to compensate for how they’re feeling by working longer hours or disengaging at work. If you’re experiencing this, taking time to work on yourself and understand how you’re feeling can help you to work past these feelings so you can become more confident in yourself and your abilities.

One way to help manage and process your feelings can be through journaling. Journaling is a great way to help relieve stress and anxiety because you can use it as your release instead of holding everything in. Set aside time during the day to write down your recent accomplishments and keep track of them so when you compare yourself to others and are experiencing self-doubt, you can reflect on your notes for proof of what you’ve done. You could also use your journal to write down how you’re feeling and have a place to vent without letting others know that you feel a certain way. 

In addition, taking time to set short-term goals for yourself can also help improve feelings of self-doubt. Start small by setting daily goals, ones that you know that you should be able to reach by the end of the day. In setting daily goals, you can reflect on them once the working day is over and see for yourself what you have been able to achieve. In doing this, it’ll give you confidence that you were able to reach the goals you set, showing you that you’re more capable than you may think. Once you begin to improve your confidence, you can start setting more long-term goals as a way to benchmark yourself and prove that you can do the things you set out to do. If you’re struggling to stay motivated with the goals that you’ve set, lean on your coworkers or even consider working with a mentor for extra support. 

Improve Your Confidence

When you’re working every day, it can be hard to find time outside of work for yourself because of your schedule, or because you’re exhausted from work and don’t have the energy to do the things you want. While that may be true, it’s important to make yourself a priority. Taking time outside of work to do things for yourself can help with how you feel about yourself, both in your personal life and professionally. Some positive things you can do for yourself include finding a new hobby or working on your mental health. If you’re finding that stressors in your personal life are causing your mental health to decline and bringing on the feeling of self-doubt, work on reducing those stressors by first identifying them. 

Financial stress is a common stressor and can weigh on you and cause you to constantly worry about your future. The stress that comes from this can carry into your daily life and can cause you to feel insecure and question yourself even further through imposter syndrome. In order to lessen the financial stress some feel, investing in financial education may be a great step to take. Learning more about how to budget and save your money can help to instill confidence and security. If you’re someone who has a long-term goal of purchasing a home, then it’s important to start researching early on the best ways to build your financial status, so when it comes time to start the home buying process, you’ll know how expensive of a house you can afford. Becoming well-educated about your finances will not only help you reach milestones such as purchasing a home, but it’ll give you the confidence that you have the ability to create a successful, stable financial future. The confidence that you’ll gain over time will allow you to have a more positive outlook when facing certain challenges. It may be speaking up at work, or making a decision in your personal life, but becoming more sure of yourself will allow you to let go of the feeling of being an imposter because you’ll be confident enough to know what thoughts to listen to and what thoughts to let go of.

Rethink Your Communication 

Another way to help improve your confidence and reduce the feelings of self-doubt can be through working on your communication with yourself and your peers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and feel that you’re isolating yourself, it’s important to recognize that and lean on others for support. When you feel yourself isolating from others, it may start to impact how you interact with them. Rather than engaging in conversations, you may find yourself avoiding conversations or even reacting differently with others. With a lack of self-confidence, your communication approach can become inconsistent and cause confusion with others. If this happens, work on recognizing when it does so you can take more time in your communication with others and effectively get your message across. Some ways to improve your communication skills include spotting the patterns, positive self talk, and reframing your mindset.

Instead of believing everything you’re telling yourself, by reframing your thoughts you will start to focus less on the negative, let go of feelings of doubt, and move towards feelings of empowerment. Spending time to work on your communication skills is vital to your professional and personal success, as they go hand in hand. In addition to that, your company should be making efforts to foster and encourage positive and effective communication. When there’s a focus on communication in the workplace, it can allow employees to feel a sense of trust, allowing them to feel comfortable speaking up whether it be with coworkers or in meetings. 

Imposter syndrome can be a serious problem if not recognized or addressed, as it can lead to a decrease in productivity and overall well-being. It’s important to know the signs and know how to overcome feelings of doubt and insecurity that we often feel. Ensuring that they’re working in an environment that puts a focus on transparency and trust, can allow employees to feel comfortable sharing how they’re feeling and being open to solutions and advice.

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