Intrusive thoughts, feelings of professional incompetency, and the inability to accept feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Do these sound familiar?
There’s a good chance they do. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll earlier this year which involved 1,000 residents of the UK who have been in full time employment for a minimum of three years within finance, marketing, digital, and management, the UK is experiencing an imposter syndrome epidemic.
The survey revealed that feelings associated with imposter syndrome [defined by Harvard Business Review as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success”] are more prominent in women than men here in the UK, with 80 per cent of males experiencing it compared to 90 per cent of females.
That said, alarmingly, only 25 per cent are actually aware of what imposter syndrome is. During the course of the past few years, as we’ve navigated the pandemic and how it has changed our lives, imposter syndrome has found itself mentioned far more prominently within the wider media. Monthly searches on Google for the term have grown by a whopping 292 per cent since October 2018, for example.
So, more people have heard of it and they know that it’s impacting their day-to-day lives, particularly within their working environment, but do Brits know how to quash it? In this article, we take a look at various ways you can tackle imposter syndrome and feel more comfortable with your own success and achievements, especially as we descend into the winter months and battle a cost-of-living crisis.
Nobody is perfect
If you can reposition your mindset to that of one focused on growth, you can recalibrate your approach to failure, and ultimately start to look at it as the next step to success. You won’t always get everything right but if you can learn from the things that go wrong and reapply them to future tasks, you’ll recognise that you haven’t failed, but simply learnt something new.
Appreciate successes, even the smallest ones
One of the biggest issues with imposter syndrome is that of not being able to recognise success when you’ve achieved it. Putting your head above the parapet every now and again and realising your own achievements is a particularly useful tool to have in your armoury. Regardless of the magnitude of what you’ve managed to do, it’s worth giving yourself a pat on the back, or highlighting your gains to your peers!
Think about your overthinking
Our thoughts aren’t always reality or facts. While you might be thinking you’re underperforming in your job or in the worst case scenario, useless, chances are the vast majority of your colleagues and your boss actually think you’re pretty great and appreciate your worth. Start asking yourself the questions ‘how do I know I’m not good enough to be here?’.
Express your individuality
Benchmarking your progress is good. Benchmarking your progress against that of someone else bad. We’re all on a different journey and we’ll not reach our end goals at some stage.
Focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself to your peers. You can kick things off by choosing to express your individuality – take what you wear for example. The lines between smart and casual have blurred so significantly in recent years, what was once considered appropriate office attire is now almost obsolete. Brands such as Converse are all about self-expression and individuality – pull a pair of them on as your office shoes and stroll in with confidence!
It’s not just you
Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, and Lady Gaga – they’re just like you. Uber successful individuals who are battling with imposter syndrome despite being at the very pinnacle of their respective fields. You’re not alone!
When speaking about imposter syndrome, author Maya Angelou wrote: “”I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now.”
As we’ve previously highlighted, there’s a significant number of people living in the UK who’re battling imposter syndrome on a daily basis – whether they know it or not!
Everyone doubts their own ability sometimes and as Australian tradie Nedd Brockman, who’s just completed a 4,000km run from Perth to Sydney, notes: “you just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Say you can do it and you will. Believe in yourself.