Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Business

How to overcome impostor syndrome at work

"I have no clue what I'm doing and everyone is going to realize it. I don't deserve to be here. I only got the job because my uncle recommended me and I interview well."

Sound familiar? It's possible that while you're navigating that new job, which you're totally qualified for, you might also be experiencing impostor syndrome.

"People with impostor syndrome have a sense of inadequacy, dismiss their achievements, and are very critical of themselves," says Dr. Pei-Han Cheng, a psychologist at the Center for Counseling and Consultation at St. John's University in New York City. "Most of the time, they don't have an accurate understanding of how competent they actually are because their mind is clouded by this belief that 'I am a fraud.' "

Symptoms are often in full force when you're doing something for the first time — like working at your first job — so we spoke to experts to find antidotes for this destructive syndrome to help you gain the confidence you need to be successful.

Give yourself a reality check

The first step to combatting impostor syndrome is to pay attention to your negative thoughts.

"When this type of thought surfaces, it is important to recognize it as a thought, instead of a fact," Cheng says. Instead of getting sucked into negative thought quicksand, make a self-affirming statement.

Cheng recommends telling yourself something like: "I am having this thought because I am not feeling so confident of myself. The reality is that I have tons of education and experience. I also put a lot of effort into my work."

She notes that our emotional state affects our perception. If you're anxious about a tight deadline or a challenging project, your go-to emotion might be anxiety and self-doubt. Cheng highlights the importance of accurately observing your emotions and triggers so you know the appropriate coping mechanisms to use. "If you are anxious about the project, remind yourself that your anxiety may trick you to believe that you are a fraud but you are not."

Keep track of your strengths and accomplishments

It's easy to stay so focused on your to-do list, overflowing in-box, mistakes and weaknesses that you neglect to focus on your strengths and accomplishments.

Try making another list, one with all the skills and accomplishments that make you uniquely qualified for your job, so it's at the top of your mind when you're having a bad day.

"Create a vision board with goals and a list of what makes you different than those you work with," says Tyler Butler, founder and principal of the Arizona-based strategy and corporate responsibility firm, 11Eleven Consulting. "By focusing on small goals and celebrating your uniqueness early in your career, you'll have greater awareness of what you want to achieve and what makes you special already."

Another way to inoculate yourself against negative thoughts is to keep a work journal where you write down positive feedback you've received. Steve Pritchard, an HR consultant for the clothing brand Ben Sherman, recommends making an email folder or label for organizing all of the positive emails you get from colleagues and clients.

Create a support network

"The worst thing that people with impostor syndrome can do is to isolate themselves from receiving accurate and validating feedback from other people," says Cheng.

Work hard to build relationships with your co-workers, so you have people to go to lunch with and lean on for support, especially as you navigate being the newbie. "People can often normalize your experiences and reassure you that your belief about yourself isn't accurate," she says.

Another relationship you'll want to nurture? The one with your boss. Don't wait for an annual performance review to get your boss's assessment of your work. "Ask for feedback on what you've done well and ask for what you could improve upon," says Paula Jenkins, a California-based life and career coach at Jump Start Your Joy.

"When you're starting a new job or a new career, it's expected that you don't know everything. Managers very much appreciate someone who is inquisitive and is wanting to grow, and asks good questions," she says.

Once you've built a trusted network, you won't be afraid to ask co-workers for guidance.

© 2016 — Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster.com. To see other career-related articles, visit career-advice.monster.com. For recruitment articles, visit hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices.aspx.

Comments
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Times ColumnistThis has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force b...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

Associated PressFORT LAUDERDALE — Mike Jackson is stepping down after almost two decades leading AutoNation, the nation’s largest dealership chain. Jackson, 69, steered AutoNation through the economic crisis and shares have increased fourfold since h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

LAND O’ LAKES — A forest of pine and oak trees and an aging mobile home neighborhood could be replaced by luxury apartments and a pair of retail centers along State Road 54 west of Cypress Creek.In separate proposals, land owners and de...
Published: 09/19/18
These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

The 180-page Florida 500 is a compelling read for anyone curious about how the state’s most influential business leaders rose to power.Florida Trend magazine undertook some heavy lifting to compile the 2018 roster. Sure, some of the 500 bios read lik...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

TREASURE ISLAND — For the first time during her 15 years bartending at Caddy’s on the Beach, Amanda Hudson had to help close shop early this past weekend because the smell of dead fish coming from the gulf was too putrid to bear."We had to shut down ...
Published: 09/18/18
Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

After he graduated from a Maryland high school, Rickey Murray had a number of opportunities awaiting him at a number of four-year institutions.He eyed the University of South Florida, applied to Florida International University and considered Virgini...
Published: 09/18/18
Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay moved ahead Tuesday with a $4 million project to build three new radiation screening centers next to berths for containers and refrigerated cargo.The port already has a facility at its main exit where U.S. Customs and Border Pr...
Published: 09/18/18
Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

ST. PETERSBURG — The $25 million Maximo Marina renovation off Boca Ciega Bay is almost complete, but for a few punch list items.Located in the Skyway Marina District on the city’s southern tip, the facility boasts 212 covered wet slips ...
Published: 09/18/18