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How to overcome imposter syndrome in your job

7 October 2021 at 4:00 pm
Maggie Coggan
Because in the end, it’s only holding you back 

Maggie Coggan | 7 October 2021 at 4:00 pm


How to overcome imposter syndrome in your job
7 October 2021 at 4:00 pm

Because in the end, it’s only holding you back 

Do you ever feel like you’re not actually qualified for your job? You might be suffering from imposter syndrome. 

And according to research from SEEK, you’re not alone. Around 50 per cent of women and 47 per cent of men have felt imposter syndrome in their job at some point. 

Loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud, imposter syndrome disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments.

This might mean that you procrastinate because you’re afraid of failure, overcompensate for your feelings of inadequacy by working super long hours, or lash out at co-workers or others when things don’t go exactly right. 

So how do you overcome this phenomenon? 

One of the ways is by practising self-assessment, reminding yourself on a semi-regular basis of what your skills, strengths, and achievements are. Doing so can help you build confidence in the workplace, and really drive home that you were picked to do the job for a reason. 

It might sound dorky, but noting down your achievements (even the small ones) on a sticky note and putting them where you can see them is a really great way to remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished. It might be as small as keeping your inbox clear for the week, but it’s super important to give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. 

This is a tricky one (especially if you’re already feeling down about your abilities) but it’s critical that you don’t compare yourself to others. Stalking everyone you went to uni with and seeing how “successful” they’ve been is not only a waste of time, but will get you bogged down in irrelevant details. Everyone is on their own path, and as long as you’re feeling as though you’re learning new skills and contributing to meaningful work, it doesn’t matter where you are in comparison to others. 

Meeting someone who doesn’t stop talking about how great they are is boring, we all know that. But, there is a difference between someone like that, and someone who really understands their strengths and what they can bring to a professional situation. You can do this by keeping your manager informed of what you’re working on, how you’re going about it, and feedback that could help you improve.

And if you are the manager or CEO of an organisation, it might be worth reaching out to your mentor for advice. 

It’s important to remember that following these practical steps might not completely fix the problem. If you are feeling incredibly overwhelmed by your work, try reaching out to your friends, family, or even a professional counsellor. 

Your support network is there for a reason, and sometimes verbalising issues you’re having at work can make a world of difference in moving past them.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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