Have you ever felt like you don’t belong in your workplace? Like you are not qualified enough to do your job? Like you are just faking it until someone finds out and exposes you?
If you have, then you might be experiencing imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where people doubt their skills, abilities and achievements, and fear being exposed as a fraud.
Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of their level of experience or expertise. It can make you feel insecure, anxious and stressed. It can also prevent you from pursuing new opportunities, taking risks or asking for help.
But here’s the thing: imposter syndrome is not a sign of weakness or incompetence. It’s actually a sign that you are learning on the job.
Learning on the job is a natural and essential part of any career. It means that you are constantly challenging yourself, acquiring new skills and expanding your knowledge. It means that you are not stagnant or complacent. It means that you are growing.
Learning on the job also means that you will encounter situations where you don’t know everything or have all the answers. And that’s okay. No one knows everything or has all the answers. That’s why we have colleagues, mentors and resources to support us.
The key is to recognise when you are learning on the job and embrace it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Acknowledge your achievements and celebrate your successes. Don’t dismiss them as luck or fluke. You worked hard for them and deserve recognition.
- Accept feedback as constructive and helpful rather than critical and personal. Feedback is not meant to tear you down but to help you improve.
- Seek support from others who understand what you are going through. Find people who can empathise with your feelings, share their experiences and offer advice.
- Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes or not knowing something. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend in the same situation.
- Remember that imposter syndrome is common and normal. You are not alone in feeling this way. Many successful people struggle with imposter syndrome at some point in their careers.
Imposter syndrome can be a challenge but it can also be an opportunity to learn on the job and grow as a professional. Don’t let it hold you back from reaching your full potential.