Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Navigating the Working World

This Article Was Published On 13-12-2019

Ever felt like a fraud?Overcoming imposter syndrome: navigating the working world


Ever been called to the office by your boss and your automatic response is “What have I done wrong?


Enjoy knowing you are normal. You are probably experiencing Imposter Syndrome.


Almost a third of us have suffered from imposter syndrome at some point in our working lives, leaving is feeling vulnerable and  intimidated about our place in the working world. It is a phenomenon most common among successful women, imposter syndrome leaves you plagued with self-doubt, convinced your progress is due to luck, rather than talent, skill or hard work. 



What Is Imposter Syndrome? 


Described as ‘a feeling of phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement’, imposter syndrome will have you believing you’re swimming against your own tide, feeling like a fraud in a life that doesn’t seem to fit the personal representation you place on yourself. 


Feelings of inadequacy come in all different shapes and forms. Whether you set yourself goals that are too high to achieve, you allow yourself no room for mistakes, no matter how difficult the task you’re completing, or you feel constantly pressed to prove your worth, imposter syndrome skews the way you view your world. Navigating each day then becomes a challenge that must be dealt with perfectly, rather than an opportunity in which you’ll allow yourself space to grow. 


Imposter syndrome is a symptom of diligence. Over and over I witness women in their mid 30s who have defined themselves by their efforts. At school they worked hard and got great marks, then throughout uni, they experience the same again; and then in the world of work they were the diligent, reliable ones who cracked on with every task. 


They became known as a safe pair of hands, always doing and always achieving, but instead of from a place of confidence they did it from a place of uncertainty and what took that certainty away was more and more effort. The result, they are called to the office and instead of the telling off they anticipate, given more responsibility.


The Problem With Perfectionism 


Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Navigating the Working WorldWhat happens once you become an expert in your job role? You get asked to do more, and more, until you wish you’d never asked to begin walking on the path to more responsibility in the first place. When the bar is set so high, the pressure to reach the standards you’ve set yourself can feel overwhelmingly difficult to reach. Imposter syndrome doesn’t just mean you devalue your own worth, it allows you to move further into a negative mindset, stuck thinking that you’re not cut out for the role you’ve created for yourself in the first place. 


The pressure to perform leaves us constantly reaching for a life that appears completely flawless. We’re only human; we make mistakes and learn from them everyday, yet imposter syndrome demands immense pressure to be placed on every accolade or point of progression we enter into. 



When Stress Becomes Overwhelming 



Imposter syndrome, perfectionism and self validation go hand in hand: the unholy trinity of low self worth. In our ‘always on’ culture, we cover up these feelings of low self worth with the burnout badge of honour – stress.


This destructive stress seeking culture is normalised – so much so, that we even compete to see who has the most responsibilities to deal with. Stressed? You don’t know what stress is. Wait until you have to deal with what I have to get through, then you’ll know ‘real’ stress. 


We live the lives we create for ourselves. Reminding yourself that you’re only human ensures that Imposter syndrome doesn’t have to be your constant state of mind. Get acquainted with our tools and techniques to help your team find Betterminds for everyone.