What is Impostor Syndrome? Top tips to fight feeling like a fraud

If you’ve ever found yourself doubting that you deserve your achievements, you could be suffering impostor syndrome. Without any exams to determine their A-level grades, this year’s cohort of new university students could be particularly vulnerable to these self-deprecating feelings. 

However, impostor syndrome is a much more widespread issue – particularly amongst young women in the workplace. In this guide, we’ll define the term and align it with real-life examples before offering some helpful techniques to truly excel in an academic or professional setting.

Spotting impostor syndrome

With at least 70% of people affected by workplace impostor thoughts at some point in their lives, it’s helpful to spot the internal symptoms – which tend to stay the same across the board. Impostors may demonstrate:

  • Perfectionist tendencies
  • Fear of failure
  • An inability to accept positive feedback
  • Anxiety about underperforming
  • Procrastination

The defining aspect of impostor syndrome is the difference between how an individual perceives their ability compared to their actual competence. So how can employers help harness potential in this situation?

How do business leaders deal with impostor syndrome?

Studies have found that impostor syndrome is most prevalent amongst high achievers, presenting a potential barrier for employers and managers to truly excel. 

Experts in online printing services instantprint have looked into this caveat, interviewing six top business professionals to find out exactly how professional people combat impostor syndrome and help their fellow employees to realise their abilities. 

Respondents from a range of career backgrounds and industries agreed that imposter syndrome can plague any career and be combatted by promoting self-belief and minimising comparisons.

Steps for overcoming impostor syndrome

  • Don’t ignore it

If any feelings of doubt in your work seem familiar, make sure you call it out. Recognising it within yourself is the first step towards tackling it, outlining the thoughts as separate from those which help you grow.

  • Ask questions

Challenge your own mindset – every time you have a negative thought about your ability or your work, try to see it from another perspective. Consider what you’d do if you did feel confident, and carry that into your work.

  • Practise mindfulness

Mindset coaches recommend mindfulness in their sessions, asking clients to create a list of the reasons that make them great at what they do. This cultivates a focus on achievement, leading to improved confidence in your own abilities, strengths, and talents. 

In conclusion: learn to focus on what makes you unique

Impostor syndrome affects the lives and livelihoods of driven, intelligent, and successful people. Learning how to spot the signs could help you or your colleagues to unlock the self-belief necessary to truly overcome any doubts and achieve more than ever before.

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