How to beat imposter syndrome
So you’ve finally landed your dream job and are in the early stages of life at the new office, but something doesn’t feel quite right. Well, you’re not alone. In recent times, the term ‘imposter syndrome’ has become increasingly common, and is almost normal or expected in any situation wherever excitement, anticipation, and expectation come together. The fear of the unknown, desire to impress, the pressure to show your employer they made the right decision, and the goal of being recognized as a valuable asset to the team can leave us hyper-aware of our skills gaps and perceived shortcomings, meaning we are more self-critical than we should be; our own worst enemies.
Imposter syndrome as it has come to be known is the feeling that you may be ‘found out’ as not quite capable for the role you’re in. When those feelings of “no I can’t” pop up, it’s important to identify them as passing feelings and use the tools in your arsenal to overcome self-doubt. At Yulu, we’re lucky to comprise a team of impressive professionals consistently advancing our skills and impact, but with that comes challenges. We’ve put together some of the tools that helped us stay on top of our imposter anxiety, in the hope that they help.
- Remember why you were hired
- Unless you grossly exaggerated your skills or experience in the application and interview process, chances are there are no major shortcomings or skills gaps to be ‘found out’. In situations where you find yourself questioning your ability, try to remember why you got the job. In today’s climate and economy, application and interview processes can be lengthy and through every step of the process, you came out on top. That speaks volumes and is something you should try to remember every day. Consider your new role as an opportunity to succeed, not a hurdle to trip on.
- Celebrate the wins
- In a busy work environment, it’s all too easy to fly through the task-list, ticking of deliverables and only pausing when something unexpected stops you in your tracks. Usually, that something is a hiccup we didn’t expect meaning that our only points of reflection are negative. Once a day, think about what you’ve achieved and celebrate the wins, however big or small. At Yulu we have a glamorous gong on the wall which we strike any time we or a colleague has something to celebrate. By vocalizing the wins and encouraging positive affirmations, you will have something positive to draw on when self-doubt creeps in.
- Accept your ‘flaws’
- While we all have strengths, everyone is different and we each have areas we can improve on. No one’s work will ever consistently be 100 per cent flawless, and by being aware and open about our own areas for improvement, not only will we upskill and improve professionally, but also avoid trying to hide our areas for improvement, fuelling the feeling of imposter syndrome. The sooner we accept that we’re all constantly learning and improving, and stop comparing ourselves to others around us and their specific areas of expertise, the better off we’ll be.
- Know your strengths
- Whether you’re an expert at writing and creativity, client management, problem-solving or strategic thinking, you have something no one around you has, a unique outlook and skill set that others around you can learn from. While it may seem boastful to shout these from the rooftops, in a collaborative work environment, it’s important to know where your strengths lie. As well as helping your team deliver great work, it’s also a good way to reinforce your self-confidence when the symptoms of imposter syndrome pop up.
- Play the part
- Knowing you’re most likely harder on yourself than anyone else is, try to stay objective. Rather than identifying only your failings and harshly critiquing your own every move, consider ‘playing a part’. By reflecting on your abilities and achievements as if analysing those of a character in a book or playing the part of you in your own life, you’re more likely to have a balanced viewpoint. Likewise, think about how you approach friends or colleagues when they’re feeling unsure of themselves, and consider giving yourself one of those reassuring pep-talks from time to time.
You have the experience, you have the job, and hopefully, now you have some useful tips to help you boss your day and find more and more reasons to smash that gong.