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The world of technology is advancing and it can be easy to feel that your skills are not improving fast enough. Imposter syndrome is common. Not allowing these thoughts to weigh on you and managing them requires practice.
Here we look at what an impostor syndrome is and how to manage it. We spoke with psychologist Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck to give you tips for dealing with this difficult feeling.
What is an impostor syndrome?
The imposter’s syndrome is a self-doubt that does not coincide with your achievements. This phenomenon makes you feel like you don’t deserve your position or someone will find out that you are not really qualified for your job.
Professionals may experience cheating syndrome when applying for new jobs, when they are offered opportunities, or when it is time to negotiate a salary. The imposter’s syndrome can prevent talented professionals from moving forward if it makes them miss opportunities.
You may also experience cheating syndrome if you have poor communication, unclear expectations, or intense competition in your workplace.
ZDNet: Why do high-performing people still experience imposter syndrome?
Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck: The imposter’s syndrome is an internal experience that is separate from what happens externally. Anyone – even the highly efficient, who have achieved a lot – can experience it.
Highly efficient people often accept that everyone is like them and thus may reject their unique skills and attributes.
Furthermore, since the imposter’s syndrome is an inner experience, there is no threshold that is reached once it is reached to alleviate these feelings. High producers often believe that if they just get to the “X” – whatever the next level – the feelings they have will fade away.
We know from research that these feelings do not subside after reaching a new goal, because we acclimatize and quickly choose a new goal as the next threshold, continuing the cycle.
Do I experience impostor syndrome at work?
Recognizing the imposter’s syndrome is the first step to healing. The feeling that you are not good enough for your job can lead to a lot of stress, a feeling of burnout and even giving up your position.
If you experience impostor syndrome at work, you can:
- Reduce your achievements
- Failed to complete projects
- Second, know your decisions
- Avoid feedback
- Fight for small mistakes
- Feel like a cheater
- You cannot accept praise
- Make every effort to exhaustion
ZDNet: How can an employee tell his manager that he has cheating syndrome?
Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck: It really depends on the culture of your workplace. There is no perfect way to talk to an impostor syndrome manager. If you trust them and have been able to be emotionally open with them in the past, I would encourage you to open up.
Even if you don’t talk about the “impostor syndrome” with your manager himself, it may also be helpful to ask for direct feedback on your work so that you have some specific, objective measures to test reality when you feel as a fraud.
Often, positive feedback alone will not improve feelings, but it can help you find some basis when you feel rejected by your thoughts and feelings.
Also, if you are going to talk to your manager, think about some useful things you may need from them or why you are sharing this information with them so that it still feels relevant to the professional context.
If you do not have a transparent and vulnerable relationship with your manager, I would also suggest seeking the support of colleagues. After all, you want to go to the well where there is water for you.
How to deal with the imposter’s syndrome in your career
The following tips can provide relief from the feeling of an impostor’s syndrome. Some tips may be more effective than others depending on the individual and the situation.
Remember: Thoughts are not facts.
When a song is stuck in your head, you don’t blame yourself for it. The best way to peel off a song is to listen to it. When the song is over, you continue.
This principle applies to recurring negative thoughts: Don’t blame yourself, let your thoughts have their moment and move on without them.
Introspective thinking and self-awareness are signs of emotional intelligence. Although anxious and negative thoughts are normal, they are not always accurate for the current situation. Uncertainty and the unknown can convince our nervous system that there are dangers and threats, but that does not mean it is true.
Rephrase your thoughts.
Start observing your inner narrator of negative thoughts and try to reformulate them. When your inner narrator says you have failed, try to remind yourself that this moment is a learning opportunity.
Reformulating your thoughts does not mean forcing yourself to be positive. This is a method of provoking thoughts and seeking a more useful point of view.
Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck: Make it a habit to respond to your deceptive feelings and thoughts as you would to a dear friend. If they come to you and say, “I don’t feel smart enough to do this,” you won’t say, “Yes, you’re right.” You have to give up.
You would probably encourage them by reminding them of their strengths and the times they have persevered in, letting them know you believe in them, and reassuring them by reassuring them that many people feel that way from time to time.
Learning to talk to yourself in a compassionate way (and often in a much more accurate way, instead of being completely distracted by emotional thinking) can be a great long-term practice for keeping cheating syndrome at the right level.
Make a list of your skills, strengths and achievements.
Viewing your resume can be helpful when you are experiencing cheating syndrome. Don’t be afraid to make a list of your accomplishments and remind yourself that you are qualified to take your position.
Your accomplishments may include things like organizing an office book club or recommending switching company software. These achievements make you a valuable worker and worth celebrating.
Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck: I suggest that people follow, literally or figuratively, their achievements, strengths and efforts. These things can be so easy to forget when we feel cheated.
Enjoying these positive experiences can help us keep intense and difficult emotions more tender.
Share how you feel with a loved one.
Do not allow negative thoughts to fester in your head. Find someone out of work with whom you can talk about the impostor syndrome. Speaking thoughts out loud can help you understand that they are inaccurate and move on.
Find someone who has dealt with the imposter’s syndrome to help you see that you are not alone in your feelings.
Set reasonable expectations for yourself at work.
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Setting unattainable standards leads to frustration and even self-loathing.
Choose realistic personal goals. Don’t set yourself up to feel like a cheater.
Create a schedule for yourself and set aside time for the projects you want to complete. Make sure you add extra time to rest and recharge. Does your completed schedule seem like something you can do while maintaining your mental health?
Accept thinking about growth.
Perceiving thinking about growth will restructure the way you see your shortcomings. Remind yourself that you are still learning and that it is good to make mistakes. Focusing on shifting self-talk can make a huge difference in the way you view your current success.
Try these easy replacements:
– I can not do it.
“I’ll understand that.”
“I made a mistake.”
“I learned something.”
“I do not know.”
– I still do not know.
Write down at least one success you had at the end of each workday.
If you are at the beginning of your career or your previous successes do not inspire you, try to focus on smaller, daily gains. Write down at least one success you had at the end of each workday.
Keep your list somewhere where you can access it when you need amplification. Add everything you are proud of to your list.
If you’ve had a successful meeting, make a note of what worked and some public speaking tips for you in the future. Be sure to add any messages from Slack you have received or positive comments to review performance.
Focus on what you can give to others.
If you see someone in your workplace struggling, try to help them. It may seem counterintuitive to help others when you are overwhelmed, but this method may remind you that other people are also struggling.
Helping someone else when needed will probably make you feel more valuable to the team. These gestures can create a culture of helpfulness in the office that can come back to you.
Talk to a therapist.
These methods of overcoming the imposter’s syndrome can be helpful, but sometimes you need the advice of a licensed professional.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help explore negative emotions and create personalized methods for managing them.
Your primary care provider may be able to contact you with a therapist. If this is not possible for you, try an online service like Betterhelp or Talkspace. These sites offer quick availability for appointments.
More about Dr. Pauline Yeghnazar Peck, MA, MMFT, Ph.D.
Pauline Yegnazar Peck, MA, MMFT, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in California and New York with a private practice in Santa Barbara, California. She works with people and couples from Millennium and Generation Z to create the love, work and life they want. She specializes in anxiety, life transitions, trauma and multicultural issues.