It's Mental Health Awareness Week, and Sarah French, certified Coach and Workplace Wellbeing facilitator, shares her experiences and advice on how to deal with imposter syndrome at work, and associated issues such as burnout, anxiety, and stress.
So, what can we do about it?
Admitting we have it is half the battle. So often, we don't even want to admit it to ourselves. Still, research suggests that 70% of us will experience imposter syndrome at some point during our lives, and contrary to popular opinion, it's just as likely to affect men as women.
My mentor and self-doubt expert Sas Petherick identifies seven signs of Imposter Syndrome to look out for…
- Believing that other people have an overinflated view of you
- Believing that you will inevitably let everybody down, as well as yourself
- Attributing any success you have to luck
- Believing that your ability to do something negates the value of it
- Constantly feeling fearful that you will be found out
- Catastrophic thinking about the consequences of any mistake
- Feeling like an outsider or that you don't belong
Does Imposter Syndrome feel familiar to you? If it does, talk about it. Imposter syndrome makes us feel like we're the only ones having these feelings, so we tend to keep them to ourselves and think we are alone because we don't hear many other people talk about it.
If you can, talk about it with a professional because often when we speak up about our imposter thoughts, we do so with friends and family, who tell us this isn't true. As well-meaning as this support is, it can exacerbate our fraudulent feelings because our loved and trusted people just get added to the ranks of all the people we have fooled, and it can feel like there is no safe space to say how we really feel.
Mainstream thinking around imposter syndrome will give you many ways to hack, fight or eliminate imposter syndrome. However, I've found that the more you fight and resist something, the more it persists.
What if, instead of trying to eliminate imposter syndrome, we saw these feelings as a natural part of our growth? After all, these feelings tend to step up a gear whenever we express our creativity, make new connections, or take on situations that may make us more vulnerable to psychological risk (rejection, conflict, success, judgement, failure, complexity, and disappointment).
I don't know about you, but I didn't come here to accept a career full of stress and boredom; I want a little more magic from life. What finally stopped me from working myself to the brink of burnout was healing the root causes of my self-doubt and cultivating a more supportive belief system to help me overcome, mitigate, and manage risk in a compassionate and ease-filled way.
No more white-knuckling through, no more abandoning myself, and no more comparing.
When we operate from self-doubt, our first point of call when challenges arise in the workplace is to worry, blame ourselves and assume that what we did was not good enough or that we are the problem.
But here's the thing, when you offer yourself compassion for the completely understandable reasons you may be experiencing imposter syndrome and instead learn how to cultivate the internal resources of self-belief, self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-trust (all the best selfies), we begin to think and act differently.
We begin to ask questions about our workload, assess what is realistic and set boundaries accordingly. We start to unhook from criticism and praise from others and begin to celebrate ourselves.
We remember hidden talents and allow our heart and gut to also have a say in our choices. Moving, nourishing and listening to our bodies and having a regulated nervous system become a priority.
We speak up for ourselves, stand our ground and direct our ambition in smart, strategic ways that don't require us to sacrifice our wellbeing. When we discover who we are behind all that stress and self-doubt, the way to a more courageous, calmer, and fulfilling career becomes clear.
Sarah is a Certified Coach and Workplace Wellbeing facilitator who specialises in helping professional people heal chronic stress and self-doubt so they can enjoy more courageous, calm and fulfilling careers.
You can learn more about working with her here.
Sarah is offering you a 20% discount on her Courage & Clarity Sessions – book via her website and enter code TheCandidate.
Take a look at all of our live jobs!
Check out our latest opportunities in:
You can also read our latest blogs on industry news and advice!