June 1, 2020

How to avoid the Impostor Syndrome Thought Spiral.

Everyone has suffered from impostor syndrome at some point in their careers.

It’s impossible not to ever compare ourselves to those around us, and in some cases, clashing personalities can lead to a feeling of inadequacy or self-doubt.

But by being aware of its threat to our state of mind, we can prepare ourselves to pull back, keep perspective, and keep our eye on the prize.

I remember the day the stay-at-home orders were set in place. It was a day filled with confusion, anxiety, and concern for the future. It was also a day where I started to worry about what my new routine would look like, sans office.

As someone who loves the office environment, I quickly felt myself begin spiraling with the worries of tomorrow—how would I get everything done at home? Did I need to dress up for meetings? Did my manager see my cat walking behind me on the couch? How can this be work…I’m sitting on my couch, continuing to work like it’s a Saturday afternoon and the weather is bad outside so I’m stuck inside, on the laptop.

Impostor syndrome is defined as a psychological pattern that leads to people doubting their accomplishments and feels like their successes boil down to luck. In addition, those affected by impostor syndrome have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. 

It can be easy to fall into this thought pattern and difficult to pull yourself out of it, especially when your worries are laced with newfound fear. According to this study, both men and women are prone to this thought process, and in order to advance their careers, they have to overcome this feeling and take ownership of their own successes.

There are a few ways you can try to subjugate the symptoms of impostor syndrome in the workplace outlined below.

  1. Enjoy your success (really): Unless you won the lottery, success doesn’t come to people who don’t put in the work! If you did something to be proud of, you should take a minute and savor it.
  2. Take the compliment: When someone compliments you on your work, say, “Thank you very much!” As long as you aren’t actually taking credit for someone else’s work, the compliment is directed at you for a reason.
  3. Really look around: It can be easy to think that everything is effortless to other members of your team, but if you observe or talk to them, I bet they’ll express the same type of insecurities that you have.
  4. Keep your perspective: You aren’t alone in the workplace feeling like you’re losing the competition of forward advancement. Keep in mind that your coworkers are a team, and there’s opportunity for all of you to improve and succeed.
  5. Keep an eye on your work environment: If you are constantly unable to break out of an impostor syndrome mindset, your workplace culture might be an impediment to your performance. 
  6. Ask for feedback: If you’re really worried about your performance, you can ask for help understanding how you can do better.

Impostor Syndrome is a dangerous mindset that can lead to long-term feelings of inadequacy and self-sabotage. If you feel like you’re struggling with your workplace state of mind, especially while many of us continue to work from home during the pandemic, impostor syndrome might be to blame.

Don’t fall into a black hole of self-doubt! If you’re succeeding at work, it’s you, not luck!

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