Do you feel ‘out of your depth’? Do you fear people will find out that you are a ‘fraud’? When they find out the truth you fear you will be fired, humiliated or embarrassed. What will people think of you then? Feeling like this when you are capable undermines your confidence and is a phenomena called Imposter Syndrome.
Anxiety and Negative Thoughts
Once we start having these negative thoughts they can impact on our day to day ability to cope. It can be difficult to think rationally about situations or to challenge these negative thoughts e.g. “It’s ok not to know everything”, “My colleagues are there to support me” or “ I wouldn’t have been given this job/task/project if they didn’t know I could manage it.”
When negative thoughts are all that we can focus on they will impact on our self confidence and increase the feeling of anxiety. Being in this position can feel distressing and that there is no way out. However, being able to remind yourself of all of your achievements to correct the balance of the negative and positive thoughts is beneficial.
Please also remember that this is a common difficulty which affects people of all diversities. You are not alone in feeling this way although it may feel like it.
Imposter Syndrome can be experienced when you are in a job you have been in for years if there is a change in the role, your team or your own personal circumstances. If you begin to feel like this it is a good opportunity to stop and take stock of what is happening in your life and what you need to look after yourself.
How to manage anxiety and Imposter Syndrome
If you can see your situation rationally it could be beneficial to speak to someone you trust about what you need e.g. further training and developmental opportunities or flexible working.
You could also consider:
Remind yourself of all of your achievements which have led you to now (big and small).
Speak first in a meeting to remove tension building up; even if it is to say “I’ll close the door” or comment on the weather.
Asking yourself if your high standards are currently pushing you to greatness or setting you up to fail.
If a personal relationship is impacting on your self confidence this can filter in to your general confidence and ability to go out or work. We are often our own harshest critic and therefore we do not need anyone else in our lives to criticise, shame or treat us badly. We can only take responsibility for our own actions whether this is challenging our negative thoughts, asking for support or ending a toxic relationship. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship you will ever be in and so taking steps to prioritise ourselves is the first step in rebuilding self worth and confidence.
You could also consider:
Writing a list of all the things you are grateful for each day e.g. your health, delicious coffee or sunshine.
Taking a self care or duvet day and doing what you want to do e.g. sleep, watch Netflix or paint.
Speaking through what is going on for you with a therapist.
Imposter Syndrome is manageable and you can do it if you believe in yourself.