” Help, I feel like I’m a professional fraud! “

Do you have a fear of being ‘found out’ at work? I know I did in the first few years of my career, and I still feel like that sometimes. An estimated 70% of workers experience some kind of imposter syndrome at work and it’s especially common in high-achieving women.

Imposter syndrome can mean different thing to different people. It is often described as worry of being exposed as a fraud or an imposter, particularly in your professional life.

The impact it can have on how happy we feel after work, career success, and overall wellbeing can be huge. Here are my top five tips to help overcome imposter syndrome in the workplace.

Be clear on your strengths

Strengths are defined as things that can come naturally to you, that you enjoy doing. While being competent at something means that you are able to do something, a strength means that you love to do it.

Reflect on when you have performed at your best. When has work not felt like work? What do you receive positive feedback for? Recognise this and create opportunities to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your expertise internally.

Embrace failure and learn from mistakes

Our best learning often comes from making mistakes. It might not seem like it at the time, but mistakes and failures can provide us with great opportunities to improve and self-develop, if they’re viewed in the right way.

If you mess up, avoid the temptation to self-criticise. Write down what you have learnt and what you’d do differently the next time.

Scared of talking to new people? Set yourself the goal to attend one networking event a month, or join a club or group that aligns with your professional interests.

Things often seem a lot scarier before we try doing them.

At the very least, it could provide a great answer to a future interview question of ‘when have you made a mistake and what did you learn from it?’

Attribute success to hard work, not luck

It can be easy to put our achievements and career success down to luck, circumstance, or even another person’s oversight.

Thoughts such as ‘my boss wouldn’t have hired me if she knew what a fraud/failure I am’ are unhelpful, so don’t buy in to this.

Take responsibility for your career success. Recognise the hard work, determination and failures that got you to where you are today.

Nudge your comfort zone

Confidence is developed through slowly pushing your comfort zone. Don’t give in to negative self-talk and find opportunities to build your confidence up step by step.

Afraid of public speaking? Join a local practice group or volunteer to speak at the next team meeting.

Scared of talking to new people? Set yourself the goal to attend one networking event a month, or join a club or group that aligns with your professional interests.

Things often seem a lot scarier before we try doing them.

Talk about it

Imposter syndrome may never disappear completely. But, there are lots of things you can try to help manage the symptoms.

If you find yourself questioning your ability and doubting your decisions, recognise and label these as typical attributes of imposter syndrome.

Talk to a friend or colleague you trust about how you’re feeling. It’s likely they will have experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their life.

And finally…

If it persists, find a coach or a mentor to help, and come up with a specific action plan to help tackle the symptoms.

Remember, you are in the driving seat of your career and have the power to push yourselves to new heights.

If you’d like to discuss how working with me could help you get more from your career, visit this page on my website www.hannahsalton.co.uk/loveyourcareer or email me hello@hannahsalton.co.uk

Content originally published on CV Library 

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