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5 Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome at Work

Imposter syndrome, to put it simply, is the feeling of not being as qualified at the level your peers view you at. Ironically, it often affects those who are high-achievers or perfectionists. If you’ve ever felt like an imposter at work, you’re not alone. One recent study found that about 70% of people have felt like an imposter at some point.

Imposter syndrome can greatly affect one within the workplace—leading them to overwork or be unnecessarily harsh towards themselves when it comes to work-related tasks. In fact, early research on this topic was centered around high-achieving women in the workplace, and then gradually more research was done with a wider audience.

While a good dose of doubt can be healthy, imposter syndrome holds one back from reaching their full potential. Here are five tips for overcoming imposter syndrome at work.

1. Monitor your internal dialogue

What kind of things are you telling yourself that lead you to believe you’re not qualified for your role or worthy to be where you are? Now think of those things and ask yourself if you’d say that to a friend or coworker. The answer is most likely no. While it’s good to keep yourself in check and be aware of your work performance, also make sure you give yourself a break and see your hard work for what it is.

2. Talk to your manager

If your manager is happy with your work but you’re still feeling imposter syndrome, talk to them about it. They’ll most likely appreciate the transparency—and they may even offer ways to help. If it’s affecting your work, it’s important for them to know. If talking to your manager about it feels too daunting, try talking to a friend, coworker, or therapist. Talking to someone will help you get out of your head.

3. Practice self-care

Perfectionist thinking is ultimately not healthy for you in your work life, but sometimes it’s hard to control. Try practicing self-care after your workday and be kind to yourself. Take a bath, meditate, or do some yoga—there are plenty of self-care options available out there. And it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The more you are kind to yourself and rest, the more likely you’ll be putting your best foot forward for the workday.

4. Celebrate your successes

A major part of imposter syndrome is minimizing your accomplishments. This can be easy to do when we get into a routine of not patting ourselves on the back enough. Try celebrating your successes when they happen—and making a routine of doing so. This will help prevent those negative thoughts and will make you feel better in the meantime.

5. Learn to accept it

A big part of overcoming imposter syndrome is acceptance. Once you gain awareness of your imposter syndrome (which you most likely have if you’re reading this article!) you will be more ready to accept it, and therefore work through it with the help of the above tips.  

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