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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work

Orignally published on 2021-12-08 09:44:03 by www.makeuseof.com

Imposter Syndrome can have a hugely negative impact on your work life, and can leave you feeling inadequate at every turn. Research conducted in 2019 stated that it affects around 9-82% of people in the workplace, which suggests that it’s fairly common.

So, if you’ve doubted your skills and felt undeserving of success, you might be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. This article explores what Imposter Syndrome looks like, and some helpful ways you can overcome it.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Illustration of Person Holding The Sides of Their Head With Both Hands

Although Imposter Syndrome isn’t formally recognized as a condition, there is growing research that shows it’s a very real thing that many people come up against. It’s also something that anyone can struggle with, regardless of what job you have.

Imposter Syndrome involves feeling like a fraud at work, perceiving personal incompetence, and continual self-doubt. It makes you think that any accomplishments you achieve are due to good luck, rather than ability or skill, and you fear that your colleagues will eventually figure this out, too.

The consequences of this are:

  • You put pressure on yourself to work harder, to overcome any perceived shortcomings.
  • Low self-esteem and confidence.
  • Feeling guilty about “tricking” your colleagues.
  • Chronic stress.
  • Always anticipating criticism or failure.

It’s not always easy to recognize, but some signs that you might have Imposter Syndrome include:

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  • Not speaking up in meetings, out of fear that your contributions are inferior.
  • Always second-guessing your decisions.
  • Taking longer to complete work, because you want it to be perfect.
  • Regularly working through breaks and doing overtime.
  • Being concerned with how your colleagues view you.

The more you do these things, the more it reinforces the Imposter Syndrome. This is because you attribute your success at work to those behaviors. The good news is that, with the right approaches, Imposter Syndrome can be controlled and conquered.

Related: Tips to Deal With Technostress

Use a Journal to Write Your Worries Down

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Imposter Syndrome can cause you to have an ongoing internal monologue of anxieties, and it’s hard to break this cycle when you keep it in. For this reason, journaling is an excellent way to express yourself and focus your energy.

Your journal should ideally be personal to you, and you can arrange it how you like. There are plenty of journaling applications you can utilize, such as ZenJournal or Evernote, that allow you to write continuous streams of thought, and you can take them with you on the go, if required.

Find some uninterrupted time in your schedule, when your thoughts are bothering you, and just write it out. You may choose to write paragraphs, or if you’re in a fast-paced job, just jot a few bullet points down about how you’re feeling. No one else is going to see it, so you can write like you’re just having a conversation with yourself.

Related: How to Be Consistent With Journaling

Get into this habit, and you may find your stress levels decreasing, as you dedicate particular times for the Imposter Syndrome’s voice. As the saying goes: a problem shared is a problem halved, and journaling has been shown to have the same effect, even if you don’t share it with anyone.

Theory A and Theory B Method

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With Imposter Syndrome, you’ll likely have thoughts that discount your achievements, and cause cycles of worry. When you’re going through this, the Theory A and Theory B Method is a great tool to use.

Theory A is the troubling thought that you’re having right now, for example, “I only did a good job on that project because I had help from my colleague.” Theory B is another way of thinking about the situation, for example, “I did a good job on the project and got some helpful tips from my colleagues”.


The idea behind this method is that your Imposter Syndrome will be actively trying to sabotage you, and these thoughts are often automatic. However, when you reframe it slightly, it doesn’t have the same damaging effects on you.

For the best results, you should write your Theory A and B down somewhere, because it will take the worries out of your head and make it visual. You might want to use your journal to record it, and if you’re using Evernote, you can make a separate notebook to differentiate it from your main journal.

Create a Feedback Board

Illustration of Person Holding Tablet With 5 Stars On Screen

One of the hallmark signs of Imposter Syndrome is not being able to accept positive feedback about your performance. However, creating a feedback board allows you to store all that praise in one place, for you to look at when you’re having a bad day.


Padlet serves as a digital pinboard, where you can collate all the good commentary from your manager and colleagues. Just create a new board by clicking Make a Padlet from your homepage, select a Template, and give it a Title and Description. Once you’ve done that, click Next and you can start adding pins to your board by clicking the pink Plus sign in the bottom-right corner.

Related: Practical Things You Can Make in Padlet

You can also add images, links to files, and icons, if you want to personalize them. Plus, most of the templates support re-arranging your pins, so you can put your favorites at the top.

Use a Mindfulness Application

Sometimes, you just need some space from work, and time to gather yourself. With Imposter Syndrome, it’s important to acknowledge when you’re becoming overwhelmed, and take five minutes to calm yourself.


Mindfulness meditation is a really useful way to step away from your worries and devote some time for yourself. It doesn’t have to take a long time, and you can integrate it into your workday, or do some on your break.

Related: What is Headspace? How to Make the Most of It

Luckily, applications like Headspace do all the hard work for you when it comes to mindfulness and meditation. There is a dedicated meditation for Imposter Syndrome, and several sessions for Self-Esteem and Worrying thoughts that might be helpful. The length of each meditation varies, with the shortest ones lasting only one minute, for a quick cool-down.

Say No to Imposter Syndrome

It’s really easy to let Imposter Syndrome take over your life, and ruin your experience at work. Oftentimes, it’s hard to notice because you become convinced that what it says is the truth.


However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Imposter Syndrome is something you can control and squash, and at the end of the day, you do deserve to feel good about what you do. Use the tips in this article, and you’ll start to feel deserving, too.


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Orignally published on 2021-12-08 09:44:03 by www.makeuseof.com

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