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Is your best work, or your next career move being robbed by fear and self-doubt? Have you ever felt like you aren’t capable, or haven’t earned the right to be in the position you are in? Do you worry about whether you are good enough?
In the current business environment where supply chains are strained, inflationary pressures are present and many businesses are going through some sort of change and/or transformation, the need for new thinking and ideas is vital.
These challenges can present a fantastic opportunity to show entrepreneurial spirit to solve today’s problems and make a difference. However, the current environment may also be creating additional stress and anxiety due to uncertainty, and the prevalence of burnout and imposter syndrome.
A recent global study conducted by Asana, for the 2022 Anatomy of Work report, surveyed over 10,000 employees to learn what’s working and what’s not in organisations.
According to this research nearly two-thirds (62%) of knowledge workers worldwide reported experiencing imposter syndrome in the last year, with 42% of employees experiencing both burnout and imposter syndrome at the same time.
Imposter syndrome refers to an intense feeling of fraudulence when you doubt your abilities, accomplishments, or skills. The mind often fearing a moment when someone is going to call you out, realise you shouldn’t be there, or you’re not capable for the role.
Even the highest of achievers and most confident and intelligent people can feel this way. It’s not defined by age, gender, or experience level.
KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Report found that as many as 75% of executive women report to having personally experienced Imposter Syndrome at certain points in their career. The study also discovered that 56% have been afraid the people around them will not believe they are as capable as expected.
Why is this phenomenon so widespread?
If we look at the global external environment since 2020, we’ve spent over 2 years surviving a pandemic, isolating, and pivoting to work from home environments.
Asana’s report found that almost one quarter of workers experienced burnout four or more times in the last year, and 40% of all workers think burnout is an inevitable part of success.
Overwhelm from job uncertainty, increased workloads, and an experience of higher levels of anxiety due to the pandemic coupled with current inflation rates all impacting our daily lives.
With a lack of connection to the workplace there are less opportunities to receive face to face feedback, read body language cues, and have open conversations to discuss challenges outside the zoom room.
The mind can potentially have a field day analysing, overthinking, and rehashing every conversation and scenario of the workday.
“Did I do enough? Was it good enough? What if I wasn’t on point? What will they think of me? Why was I not invited to that meeting? What if I don’t have the capabilities anymore? Will I lose my job?”
The mind is a powerful tool but in some cases self-doubt and fear breed without external validation and connection.
“With fewer opportunities to connect and celebrate success, remote work is intensifying impostor syndrome. Organizations should ensure that work is still being recognized and championed in remote environments on a daily basis, and that new hires have support structures in place to instil confidence.” —DR. SAHAR YOUSEF, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENTIST, UC BERKELEY (Source Asana)
Imposter syndrome is not incurable; you can become fearless by learning how to cultivate a growth mindset shifting your thinking when flooded with fear-based thoughts and feelings of incompetence. Coaching and training have been found to be two positive solutions to overcoming this fear.
In a study done to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions for reducing the imposter phenomenon results reveal that coaching was an effective mindset intervention for sustainably reducing imposter phenomenon scores. Coaching improved self-enhancing attributions and self-efficacy and reduced the tendency to cover up errors as well as the fear of negative evaluation. Training was superior in regard to knowledge acquisition. (Zanchetta et al. 2020).
Becoming fearless first begins with acknowledging when imposter feelings show up, then refraining from allowing the fears to hold you back or derail you from taking action.
Here are 4 steps to guide you when facing imposter syndrome:
1. Recognise when the feelings arise, awareness always proceeds change.
2. Identify the specific fear or doubt you are feeling.
“What specifically am I afraid of here?” or
“What is causing me to feel this way?”
3. Review the facts; feelings are not facts.
“When did I decide that I am not capable of (X)” or
“Where is the proof this person thinks (X) about me?”
4. Reframe the thought process, using the power of positive language.
It can be very unsettling to discover that you’re experiencing imposter syndrome. Given the stigma around this topic, many people might feel like they just have to push through and suffer in silence. You don’t, and the real story is in how you face the fear to rebuild your self-belief. Connection and opening conversations at work are also key. You might even be surprised when you share your experience and people understand exactly what you are going through.
Don’t let it hold you back from your dreams and goals. Get a free consultation with me to learn more about what I can do for you and how mindset coaching can help you to overcome imposter syndrome.
Janel Briggs is a Mindset Coach with a mission is to work with women across Australia and Singapore to ease anxiety, stress and overwhelm to begin truly living their best life. You can connect with Janel on social media via Linkedin or Instagram.