Welcome to the second part of our Imposter Syndrome series. In this piece we discuss how you can be aware of these feelings, their associated behaviours and how to navigate it.

Clearly, if you’re not showing up as yourself, if you are doubting your abilities and ‘holding yourself back’ then that could well be preventing you from stepping into leadership, from going for that promotion, maybe from simply speaking up in the workplace.  And that, unfortunately, just keeps you stuck.

How can we tackle Imposter Syndrome?

There is no easy fix but there are steps you can take.  Each one will give you a stepping stone for showing up as your true self and sharing your talents in a way that feels authentic and valued.

Understanding your thoughts, feelings and behaviours

Often, expressing feelings in the workplace is not widely welcomed.  Yet, we cannot effect sustainable change without considering feelings alongside our thoughts and our behaviours.

The typical thoughts associated with Imposter Syndrome are ‘not enough’ – whether it’s ‘not intelligent enough’, ‘not qualified enough’, ‘not creative enough’ or simply ‘not good enough’.  The feelings behind these thoughts are often unworthiness, shame and fear.

Think about these feelings and whether they resonate with you.  Are they feelings that surface when you are at work?

Your feelings and thoughts influence your behaviour and this is the key to self awareness and long term behavioural change.

If you recognise those self doubting thoughts in yourself then the next step is to understand how those play out in your behaviour.  Are you:

  • holding yourself back from applying for that promotion?
  • not taking the action needed to pursue that job you really want?
  • trapped in a workhorse mentality, thinking that if you only put all of the hours in then you might be ‘enough’?

Check in with yourself and understand how your feelings are influencing your behaviour.

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Expressing your feelings with someone who has earned the right to hear it

Is there someone who you trust (and this is why female mentors can be so helpful), and can talk to about your fears and feelings of unworthiness?  Often just expressing your feelings aloud can help you contextualize what is actually going on.  More likely than not, you will also realise that you’re not alone and your feelings are not uncommon.

Engage in critical awareness

Even though you might recognise the signs of Imposter Syndrome you have to be honest with yourself about what is going on.  It’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand and hope that things will change.  The truth is, things won’t change unless you tackle this head on.

Start with being honest about your feelings, thoughts and behaviours.  You can then go beyond that and be honest with yourself about your achievements and your successes.

It’s important to remind yourself that to be human is not to be perfect.  We are all imperfect. Our mistakes and struggles make us what we are – the learning we gain from that experience is what enriches us.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

*Image by Roberto Nickson http://www.unsplash.com

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