Ever felt like an imposter in your career? Not worthy, knowledgeable enough…
Chrissie Davis, Director of Eximia Communications, says, “everyone at some point in their career will have felt like an imposter in the workplace, even if for a brief moment.” She goes on to explain how, when she first started out in her career, she felt it in the very first few weeks: “I was asked to get a legal document signed by the CEO, and he asked me what he was signing. I honestly had no idea what the document was, I’d completed a history degree and company secretarial and corporate was a whole new board game. It made me feel out of my depth, not worthy – but it was at this point where I realised one of the key elements to beating imposter syndrome was to always be prepared.”
With this in mind, here are our top tips for challenging the process and saying no to imposter syndrome include:
Chrissie went on to say, “the next time I was approached by a senior leader asking for my input on a specific topic, I was able to negotiate some time to collect my thoughts and get into the zone before having a conversation.”
For example, you might have a big presentation that you’ve got to deliver. Practise practise practise and think about any questions that might be asked on the back of it.
Also, ask questions. Knowledge is power, so the more you know about a subject, the less likely you’ll feel self-doubt creeping in.
Have an open conversation
A problem shared is a problem halved. Find a colleague you trust and talk about your concerns. The likelihood is they’ve experienced this feeling before too. Acknowledging your self-doubt is powerful. There’s strength through vulnerability.
For example, you might want to get better at communicating inclusively. Approach your line manager and ask if there are any training courses you can attend. Yes, you’re showing weakness because you aren’t up to scratch on a particular topic, yet you’re also showing strength in that you want to improve in this area.
Reframe your thoughts
Try telling yourself you are good at what you do. When our internal dialogue is negative, it becomes engrained in our psyche. Try using positive affirmations and mindfulness to overcome imposter syndrome.
Save any emails you receive that give recognition. These could be from colleagues thanking you for a job well done to reminders of successful projects you’ve played an integral part in. Refer to it when unhelpful thoughts start to rear their heads.
Back to Chrissie’s experience, she says, “whilst I should have asked what the document was and what I was asking the CEO to sign, perhaps he could have been a little more empathetic in his approach towards me. I was clearly a newbie and fresh out of uni. As a leader myself, I’m acutely aware of how I come across to my team. I want to develop a culture of openness and be supportive wherever I can”.
When it comes to imposter syndrome, you can help others overcome it by giving credit where credit is due. Give feedback and acknowledge a job well done.
Also, keep the dialogue open. Provide opportunities for team members to voice their concerns or ideas wherever possible.
And finally, avoid toxic work cultures where egos are more important than being friendly and kind.
Our mantra is to #ChallengeTheProcess, so I hope this article has helped you challenge yours.