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Feeling like a Fraud?  It Might Be Imposter Syndrome

Doubting our abilities, lacking confidence, or feeling incompetent in the workplace can be signs of imposter syndrome and it’s a common mindset for many of us. Imposter syndrome effects about 70% of people at some point in their lives and the best way to overcome it is to better understand it. Below are answers to commonly asked questions about imposter syndrome that can help us all.

Q: What is imposter syndrome?

A: Imposter syndrome is the feeling of being less competent than you actually are, and can include a fear of being “found out,” that you’re not competent and that you are misleading people or inflating your abilities in some way.

Q: Who does imposter syndrome happen to?

A: Though imposter syndrome can be experienced by anyone, it is most commonly experienced by women and members of historically marginalized communities. For people in these communities, feelings of “otherness” can already be commonplace, especially depending on their role in the workplace.

Q: How does social media play a role?

A: Social media is a perfectly curated view into other peoples’ lives, often times showing only positive highlights. This can give us an unrealistic view of the real life challenges and leave us feeling less than.

Q: Aside from social media, what else can trigger imposter syndrome?

A: As we learn more in life, we also become aware of things we didn’t know before. Instead of recognizing this as normal, those with imposter syndrome may begin to internalize it and start to believe that they don’t know as much as they think they do, and aren’t worthy of their professional roles.

Q: What can I do to overcome Imposter Syndrome?

A: Usually, imposter syndrome comes from a narrative we have in our heads without evidence, so asking yourself things like:

  •  Do I actually have a reason to believe this?
  • Has my supervisor given me feedback that my performance is not meeting expectations?
  • Have colleagues told me that my work is not up to par?

If you have no evidence, to support your self-doubt, you can then start crafting a more positive narrative about your competency. It’s important to remind yourself that if at any point you aren’t up to par or are underperforming in some way, it will be brought to your attention.

Sometimes imposter syndrome occurs when we’ve tried something new, and it didn’t go the way we expected it to. Mistakes are a very normal part of the learning process.When trying something new for the first time, we wouldn’t expect someone else to get it perfectly on their first try, so giving ourselves grace is key.

If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of workplace anxiety and self-doubt, Centerstone can help. We can work together to help you feel like your best, most confident self. To learn more, visit our counseling services page, or call 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123).

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