Thursday, 18 August 2016

Impostor syndrome and what to do about it

Do you ever wonder how you got your promotion? 
Are you concerned that some day some one will "work it out" that you aren't any good at your job? 

You're not alone. 

This is called "imposter syndrome" and it can manifest itself in different ways and to different levels of severity.  It refers to high achievers who internalise their achievements and think of themselves as a fraud rather than holding the belief in themselves that others do.

 “Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me — all these things. I’m fat; I’m ugly…” 
-Kate Winslet [Interview mag. Nov 2000] ( after she received two Academy Award nominations!)

It may also not surprise you to learn that apparently women are more likely than men to suffer impostor syndrome. So what to do about it? 


Reflect on your career path 

How did you get here? What successes have you had? 
Make an effort to really think about something you are proud of. Now think about someone at work that you *know* to be a poor performer. Could that person have completed that achievement? Could they do your job? Why not? 
Do these exercises to start to give yourself much needed pep talks and start to believe in yourself 


Question your inner self-critic 

Every time that demoralising voice pops up, remember that it is YOUR voice. You really are your biggest critic. Compare your own thoughts to the feedback you have been given from your Manager, peers, team members. Do they match? 


Fake it until you make it 

If you STILL don't believe in yourself, then it is time to fake it. Just pretend with yourself that you CAN do those things. You may be surprised to find that your are able to do them really well!




Why is this important

Promotions and pay increases 

If you don't have faith in yourself, and if you think that you are a fraud, how are you going to be able to effectively apply and interview for a promotional role?
Or if you aren't looking for a step up, how are you going to negotiate for a pay increase? No matter what your "day job" is, the one thing we all have in common is that we are sales people. For ourselves.

Leadership and self confidence are interlinked  

Everyone wants a Manager they can look up to. If your leader has no self confidence, then this is demoralising for the entire team. You don't need to be totally egotistical, but you do need to believe in yourself and your team for them to believe the same.


Role model for others

This is not just about your leadership skills at work, but how about your kids, nieces, nephews etc see you. Young people are always looking for role models to emulate. 


So, own that ambition! Own your successes! 

Remember, you can still be proud of your achievements, without being a complete ass.  ;)


Do you suffer from Impostor syndrome? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

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