Impostor syndrome: how to overcome it at work?

What is impostor syndrome at work?

Some employees, although competent, tend to lack self-confidence.

We speak of impostor syndrome when a person strongly doubts his professional qualities, to the point of having the feeling of not deserving his functions, his status or his qualifications. It is a form of excessive devaluation, which can be temporary or last over time.

? Examples of situation of impostor syndrome at work:

  • An employee who occupies a good place in his company can say that he was lucky rather than looking objectively at his background and his skills.
  • An employee complimented on an important file thinks that his superiors want to please him and reassure him.
  • A person hired in an interesting position thinks that they had no one else or she would not have been taken.

Employees who experience impostor syndrome attribute their professional success or what may appear positive in their career to external causes independent of their professional qualities.

They feel that they are deceiving their superiors or colleagues regarding the reality of their skills. They fear the idea of ​​being “unmasked”. Usually, these people are introverted and perfectionists who do a good job.

Good to know: impostor syndrome is not a disease. Lack of self-confidence concerns a large number of employees, with varying degrees of intensity. It is very common to go through a period of transient lack of confidence at the start of a career or in phases of life accompanied by difficult or important changes (new position, birth, break-up, etc.). However, impostor syndrome can have serious consequences, such as leading an employee to burnout.

Are you affected by impostor syndrome?

Do you ever doubt your skills? Knowing how to question yourself and want to progress is essential. To find out if you are affected by impostor syndrome at work, analyze yourself with hindsight and lucidity.

Here are some professional situations that may make you think that you lack self-confidence at work, that you are hard on yourself, and that you are affected by impostor syndrome at work:

  • You don’t understand why you got your job, or your promotion, you think you were lucky, because you don’t judge yourself to be up to it.
  • When you achieve something, you have a hard time taking responsibility for it, being happy with your work, and giving yourself credit.
  • You are often afraid that you will not be able to do the most important tasks well, even if they are not new to you and even if you have already done them. You systematically put pressure on yourself for fear of failing.
  • When you receive compliments, you have the feeling that someone is trying to value you or to please you, and you doubt the sincerity of your interlocutor.
  • You dare not ask for help when you need it, you are afraid of being judged incompetent.
  • If you have a remark about your work, even suggestive, you think about it and think about it for a long time, it “works” on you. You blame yourself for not being perfect.
  • You are afraid that your superiors or coworkers will find out that you are not as good as they think you are. You do your best not to make any mistakes, and stay in the background to take no risk.
  • You think your job is never good enough, even when you have worked hard and successfully completed your challenges.
  • You find that your colleagues are more competent than you, even if you perform equivalent functions.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, consider our tips below to successfully overcome impostor syndrome at work.

How to overcome impostor and work syndrome?

To overcome the impostor syndrome at work, a little self-coaching is needed.

Find below 4 tips to overcome impostor syndrome at work. Easy to apply, they will help you reverse the trend of your lack of self-confidence at work.

1. Accept your professional profile

To overcome the impostor syndrome, it is first necessary to accept your professional profile.

To do this, look at your professional profile in the face and objectively identify the elements that represent you.

  • Identify your strengths and strengths, what you are used to doing or what you can consider yourself competent for.
  • Recognize your possible weak points. Think about how to address them if these weak spots are bothering you: training? Help from your colleagues? Coaching ?

It is by clearly visualizing these elements that you will be able to know on which axes it would be preferable to direct your efforts to overcome what is wrong and improve your weak points.

2. Free yourself from negative thoughts

Impostor syndrome is also synonymous with negative thoughts. To overcome it, it is therefore essential to free yourself from negative thoughts.

Ask yourself what are the tasks, missions or situations that worry you, and try to identify why (s) you have these fears. You will certainly see some recurring negative thoughts popping up.

? Examples of negative thoughts promoting impostor syndrome at work:

  • “If he sees that I don’t know how to use this software, he’ll think I’m bad. “
  • “I would never make it. “
  • “If I mess up, it’s over. “
  • “I am the worst on the team. “

You must learn to shut up all the negative thoughts that cross your mind, and to speak to yourself with kindness. Turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

? Examples of negative thoughts turned into positive thoughts:

  • “Once he has explained to me how to use this software, I will be able to do it on my own. “
  • “It’s not going to be easy and it’s scary, but I’m going to do my best to get out of it. “
  • “This project has important issues, I will prepare it carefully. “
  • “There is no reason that I should be inferior to others, I have my strengths and weaknesses like any other person. “

Learn to let go at work. You won’t be able to do this perfectly at first, but the key is to avoid giving in to anxiety, and build up your self-confidence over time.

To help you relax, you can adopt certain stress-fighting techniques (nap, meditation, relaxation).

3. Set goals

As part of an important professional project, or if you need to prove yourself things, set yourself goals to avoid impostor syndrome.

It may be a question of programming the different stages of carrying out a file, in order to reassure you by your own guidance, or to undertake training or actions to strengthen your skills.

The idea is that you hold the reins, that you make the decisions, and that you can definitely take ownership of your actions and successes.

4. Legitimize your successes to gain confidence

To fully overcome impostor syndrome, learn to look at what you do well and praise yourself for it.

This does not imply not seeing what could have been better, but knowing better how to consider what has been successful. Indeed, do not try to fight against your desire for perfection, or against your need for success. You will not succeed.

Accept those goals, and relax, just admitting that they’re just goals.

To see that you have no reason to have impostor syndrome, focus your attention on what is concrete and positive: what has been successful, what you have learned, what allows you to progress …

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