Do you worry about being found out at work? You think you are not as good as people are making you out to be and one day you will be exposed. You may be suffering from imposter syndrome.
I recently contributed to an article on Imposter Syndrome in the Happiful Magazine and, while making my contributions, I realised how many of us suffer from this syndrome at some point in our careers.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is believing you are not as competent as others believe you to be. You develop a fear of being found out and may believe you have only got to where you are by luck. This commonly leads to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. Some say it is more commonly seen in women, but I have seen it equally in both the men and women I have worked with.
If you think you suffer from imposter syndrome, you are not alone. Many people suffer from it. We live in a world of high expectations which is largely experienced through education and in the workplace. This can lead to individuals developing high expectations of themselves, often setting unrealistic goals or challenges. It also leads to individuals not speaking out when they are struggling. They do not want to be found out.
Imposter syndrome and perfectionism
Imposter syndrome is often linked to perfectionism and this is a link that I frequently see displayed, particularly in professions such as law. Signs include spending far too much time over preparing for tasks and after the event over analysing how you did, often thinking your performance was worse than it really was. Unfortunately, this forms a vicious cycle as thoughts such as ‘I don’t want to fail’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ trigger self-doubt and feelings of anxiety. Individuals don’t tell anyone because of the fear of being found out and therefore do not seek help.
What can I do if am struggling with imposter syndrome?
If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, be aware of when your imposter syndrome or perfectionist thoughts occur and what they make you feel. The more you are aware of these thoughts and feelings, the easier it will be to do something about them. Ultimately, you want to be able to challenge these thoughts and believe you are good enough and can do it. Remember it is normal not to know everything. If you are unsure about something, talk to someone who can help you. It may also be a good idea to ask for feedback from colleagues, it’s often more positive than you expect.
To find out more about this topic, have a read of the article I contributed to here, ‘What is Imposter Syndrome’