Impostor Syndrome at Work

Overcoming impostor syndrome at work is something that needs to happen for the success of your organisation and the culture must support these efforts.

Do you ever feel like an impostor at work? Like people are always judging your every move and that it’s just a matter of time before they figure out that you’re not actually as competent as everyone thinks. It sounds crazy, but this is the reality for many executives who suffer from imposter syndrome.

In this blog post, and accompanying podcast interview with Kim-Adele and Nat Schooler we will deal with the issues of impostor syndrome and how to move these awful impostor feelings.


What is impostor syndrome?

If you ever feel like a fraud, then chances are that you are not alone. Imposter syndrome is a term used to describe feelings of inadequacy and fear of being exposed as a fraud or “impostor.” If this sounds familiar, don’t worry! There are some things that you can do to cope with these feelings and start feeling more confident in yourself. Read on for tips about how to deal with imposter syndrome so that it doesn’t keep holding you back from your goals.

When people experience impostor syndrome they live in constant fear that they will get found out for being a fraud, despite in most cases them being perfectly capable and in many cases, despite these impostor feelings they are actually competent people and they just don’t know how to handle this imposter phenomenon.

They don’t have mental health problems, they don’t understand the external factors or the behavioral science that would actually confirm they are in a vicious cycle, they must learn how to separate their feelings and accept their natural genius. Whether they take care of this themselves via a phone or video session with a coach or they choose to self-study imposter syndrome it is possible they can move beyond it to build confidence and lead a healthy happy life free of this awful phenomenon.

This is what impostor feelings are like

– You worry that others may discover you’re really a fraud, and your accomplishments are just luck

– Your self-confidence falls, and you have to fake confidence in order to feel good about yourself or what you do

– You fear being exposed as a “fraud.” If this sounds familiar, know that there are things out there now to help with these feelings of inadequacy! Read on for more information about how to deal with imposter syndrome so it doesn’t prevent you from reaching your goals.

What can you do to combat impostor syndrome?

What can be done? There are many concrete steps one can take toward overcoming the condition including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), exercise, mindfulness meditation and self-care are all included in handling this you; can do this yourself.

Featuring Kim-Adele Platts: Experienced Board Leader & C-Suite Executive Coach with over a Decade in the Boardroom – Championing Human Spirit

Kim-Adele has been researching the impostor phenomenon for many years as she suffered from this too.

What triggers impostor syndrome?

It is a widely agreed-upon understanding that impostor syndrome starts in childhood and this can have a traumatic effect on the individual, particularly if they are not encouraged to take risks or explore their potential. This experience leaves them feeling like an impostor at work when faced with difficult tasks or questions, as they will be terrified of being found out for who they really are – something which has been drilled into them from early years.

what triggers impostor syndrome
Many people accept impostor syndrome is triggered from childhood

The other main trigger for feelings of incompetence comes after setbacks whereupon people feel incapable of performing adequately because their confidence takes such a hit. When it feels impossible to get back up again then one might find themselves living life in limbo between competence and failure.

How do you fight Impostor Syndrome?

To fight the impostor you need to:

  • Be aware of what is happening
  • Reframe your thinking
  • Build your confidence

Overcoming impostor syndrome at work is something that needs to happen for the success of your organisation and the culture must support these efforts. Do you ever feel like an impostor at work? Like people are always judging your every move and that it’s just a matter of time before they figure out that you’re not actually as competent.

how do you fight imposter syndrome
How do you fight imposter syndrome

Many people feel like they are frauds. They think that one day someone will discover how unqualified and inadequate they really are. These feelings of inadequacy, also known as Imposter Syndrome, can be a huge obstacle to success in both work and life. However, there are some ways to overcome the feeling of being an imposter: 

1) Challenge your self-doubt by thinking about what you do well.

Think about what you do well and the skills that you have. This will help to combat your negative self-talk, which is a sign of imposter syndrome

This idea can be furthered by setting goals for yourself within your comfort zone. If they are too easy then set them higher; if they are too hard then start with something less challenging but still outside your comfort zone. Doing this helps people overcome their fear of failure because it shows progress even when there’s an inevitable setback in the process. It also diminishes anxiety around taking on tasks or projects as one gradually gains confidence over time from completing these challenges (which may lead to more success).

When feeling like an impostor just remember: we all feel like that sometimes even top CEOs and athletes.

2) Reflect on times when others have praised or recognized your accomplishments.

Feedback from others can be crucial in helping you move beyond this awful view you have of yourself and other team members may even notice you feel like an impostor and believe it or not but they don’t like to see you suffer either.

It can be helpful to reflect on times when others have praised or recognized your accomplishments. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the positive feedback we receive, but acknowledging this praise will help you form a more realistic self-image and reduce feelings of insignificance. If possible, write down these moments in an “Achievements Journal” so that you have something tangible for reference if needed.

Don’t feel like an impostor – set goals and remember achieving them even talk about them at the performance review.

If they are too easy then set them higher; if they are too hard then start with something less challenging but still outside your comfort zone.

There are many strategies that can help you overcome imposter syndrome and recent research suggests one of the most effective methods is to focus on small goals early in your career. Another idea is to learn what makes you special at work, by keeping a journal for instance, which not only ensures an accurate timeline but also celebrates the fact that you have unique qualities to offer the workforce.

Steve Pritchard, a human resources consultant for the clothing brand Ben Sherman, recommends making an email folder or label for organizing all of the positive emails you get from colleagues and clients. “This may help you to see a pattern where you are succeeding and where you may need to work on developing your skills more in-depth.”

I like how Seth Godin put it in a blog post: “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.” But it is possible to feel worthy without feeling entitled, and overcoming impostor syndrome is all about finding a healthy balance between the two. Godin goes on to write, “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending

3) Share the impostor feelings with trusted friends or colleagues so that it is not just you who knows about them.

Once you get your impostor syndrome out into the open you will begin to change your life and it will feel like a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders and receiving positive feedback is one element of reframing those negative thoughts which is part of moving beyond your self-doubt to smash your impostor syndrome to pieces.

This will result in you enjoying your life more and viewing yourself differently. You can move beyond impostor syndrome to live the life you wish to live. Stop being a prisoner of your self-doubt.

– how to overcome your feeling of being an impostor in the workplace?

– what are the signs that you’re an Impostor Syndrome sufferer and not a fraudster or failure?

How do I overcome my feeling of being like an impostor when managing people who have more experience than me. Is it normal for young professionals to be worried about appearing less capable than their coworkers because they don’t know as much as them on certain topics, such as management.

How can I stop myself from worrying so much about looking bad which will result in me making mistakes on things that would otherwise come naturally if I wasn’t thinking about anything else other than my lack of competence.

4) Choose to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses when things don’t go according to plan. 

Don’t let a small setback or rejection bring you down. Remember that everyone has weaknesses and insecurities like the rest of us, so don’t compare yourself to others who may have it better than you do. Instead, focus on your strengths which will help build up confidence. Confidence brings self-worth whereas comparing yourself to others only leads to insecurity which is what imposter syndrome thrives off from.

When you meet a goal or finish an important project, acknowledge that it was your skill and talent that made it happen. And celebrate it, too.

It’s important to enjoy your wins, so get into the habit of visualizing success in advance, so that you’re ready to welcome it when it happens. Keep a record of positive feedback from your team and stop feeling like you are not good enough. Practice listening to praise, taking in the compliment, and drawing nourishment from it. Write down why your negative thoughts are false or meaningless and explain why you are qualified or worthy enough for this job. And, if you’re a manager, be sure to give praise where it’s due, and share.

Developing an attitude of resilience allows for fewer feelings of inadequacy when things don’t go according to plan because they know that there are many more opportunities out there waiting for them instead of dwelling over one thing that didn’t work out in their favour.

Does impostor syndrome go away?

overcoming imposter syndrome at work

The answer is yes and no, and it’s not something that can be cured. It will come back from time to time but the more they work on building their confidence in their abilities, the less they’ll feel like an imposter at work and instead build a culture of success around themselves.

The more we build our confidence levels and create a competence level and obtain the tools we need to act and speak in a certain way in a certain business the better we have of at least managing our impostor and making sure we can recognise our accomplishments breaking free of this phenomenon to enjoy our job and build the career that we wish to create.

The company we work for and our manager and business leaders should help us to move beyond this to live a happier life and if their leadership is strong enough we will reach the high standards that we have for ourselves.

The main point to remember is that this imposter syndrome can be overcome if you search hard enough for the correct tools and celebrate your accomplishments.

The company we work for and our manager and business leaders should help us to move beyond this to live a happier life. The main point to remember is that this imposter syndrome can be overcome if you search hard enough for the correct tools and celebrate your accomplishments.

This article explores how overcoming impostor syndrome at work, in small ways each day, can lead to more success with better support on an organizational level. We’ll also discuss what those who are leading may do differently so as not to make it worse by continuing their own negative perceptions of themselves or others around them!

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Building Confidence at Work To Support A Winning Culture” (Susan Fowler)

Empowering a Supporting Culture that Attracts & Retains Top Talent.

There are a number of tools to use and steps that you can take to build your confidence and overcome the impostor syndrome at work and these are some of the tips and advice that we have heard from delving deep into the research.

For example, you can correct your attitude and celebrate your accomplishments to build confidence.

You can also use a number of other methods like setting goals, celebrating successes or taking on new challenges just for the sake of doing something different and not feeling too comfortable with what you do every day.

Supporting behaviours involve diet, exercise and self-care

One way is by putting more energy into self-care: eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. You might even want to find some time during the workweek to have fun! Whilst these self-care methods may not address the impostor directly although they will certainly help in maintaining the stamina to deal with it head-on.

The first thing is communicating with an impact which means delivering clear messages in an articulate manner, using thoughtful questions, being emotionally intelligent as well as ensuring strong body language.

Building your belief system may be hard at first

It is so important to act like you are competent in order for others to see that and to behave confidently in your role and show you can do the job or deliver the project that your hiring manager or boss has put on your desk.

The culture of your company, your leadership team and line managers must also support building confidence, which includes providing opportunities, giving constructive feedback and embracing diversity among other strategies.

Understanding the root cause of impostor syndrome will be key in overcoming this psychological block at work or at any time finding yourself as an impostor.

A simple example may be that you are good at your job and have really strong skills within a particular function but don’t believe in yourself enough to think outside the box.

This can lead to things like not proactively seeking new opportunities because of fear or worry about failure, which is something that will hold back career progression.

The more support an employee has from their leadership team the easier it will be for them to overcome this psychological block and start believing in themselves as well as ensuring strong body language. Building your belief system may be hard at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature – meaning less time wasted on self-doubt and low confidence levels! The results speak for themselves – people who feel they belong in a supportive culture the longer they will stay with the company and the more they will share with their manager in response to the self-development issues they are facing.

For many high achieving women, their roots stem from a history where they were not encouraged by society to pursue careers outside the home but now we live in a very different world than before; one filled with opportunity and change – just don’t forget about all those hard-working people out there who have been paving the way for us!

Building your belief in your ability may be tough at first

Building your belief system includes believing in yourself by taking action every day and having faith in your abilities even when nobody else does.

Borrow someone else’s belief in you

At the beginning of facing up to your impostor syndrome, you can borrow someone else’s belief in you.

If you were given this job then someone obviously thought you could do it!

It can be tough with feelings of doubt at first

With self-doubt and a lack of confidence at first this can feel like a mountain to climb and a tall order at first.

When a baby learns to walk it is not easy and over time they manage to overcome their fear and lack of ability.

It’s not about being perfect but about getting things done even when they’re tough to start with!

Stay strong you can move beyond these negative thoughts

We all suffer from our inner critique at times during our lives and whether you are starting a new job or attempting to do some new task or head up a new project staying positive is key to getting through this phenomenon to create the life you wish to live.

Stay strong in yourself and know that you are good enough – just don’t forget who got you this far! ​

Great companies say: “Let us help give back some of those hard-earned wins by supporting people through their careers today.”

Providing practical steps for success; step one is believing in yourself because nobody can believe in you if YOU aren’t good. The question is if people believe in YOU then why can’t YOU too?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help we all need it

With some help overcoming impostor syndrome is possible!

You just need to ask for help, I am sure that your HR department, your boss or coach will help you if you just tell them what you are going through. When we talk about our challenges these conversations create much more focus on moving beyond our problems to feel happy and to live the life that we wish to lead.

ask for help with your impostor syndrome
Ask for help with your impostor syndrome

Whatever company you work for with some luck will be able to help you by developing your skills. The skill you need to learn to overcome the impostor phenomenon will come to you if you just have the right response, development of your competence levels in this area will become valuable tools in your career and will enable you to lead your team to develop their skills in this area.

Creating success at work is not just generated by luck, for high achievers and successful people must face up to the fear of being found out and the lack of self-confidence that they feel at times to become leaders and reach their full potential.

Setting high standards and making sure that we avoid reading too much into the perfect lives on social media are all elements that will help a person to develop into the person that they want to become and in many cases already are.

High achievers and successful people understand it is not just for FREE, it comes at a price, you must have feedback and advice from people who know how to help you to move beyond your negative thoughts.

If you have a vision of your negative self as opposed to you winning this will make it difficult for you to feel happy and build your self-esteem to the level necessary to move beyond your self-doubt

Discovering the confident YOU is key and developing your own personal belief system is key in preparing to create a winning culture that will be able to sustain itself through challenges.

One of the most important aspects of this process is ensuring there are other people around you who believe in themselves too so they can support YOU when YOU don’t know what’s going on or how things should be done – nobody knows everything! This makes sure everyone benefits from one another rather than creating an environment where success feels unattainable as each person competes against one another with no clear leader. Building a feeling of happiness and positivity

Don’t let impostor syndrome stop you from achieving your goals.

Just like anything, the more you do it – the better you become at building that confident YOU and overcoming self-doubt.

Ensuring the culture supports building confident team members is crucial. When organisations focus on creating a compelling culture, where people believe they belong and feel valued for their contributions without fear or judgment.

Communicating with impact builds confidence

Communicating with Impact: To communicate more effectively we need to ensure our words are powerful enough to be heard clearly over all other noise. These communication tips will help you deliver clearer messages.

– Use the words that you want to hear.

– Speak more slowly and deliberately.

– Be mindful of your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice – they all communicate something different about how we feel.

– Give people a chance to ask questions in order for them too be heard clearly over other noise.

– Ask yourself: “Am I saying what I really mean? How do these words sound coming out my mouth? What does this sentence say about me as a person?” These are just some basic tips on communicating with an impact, which can make imposter syndrome less prevalent at work! Imposter Syndrome is common among executives because it’s hard getting used to being looked up to by everyone around us or feeling lonely as we are at the top.

Imposter Syndrome is when someone doubts their own self-worth by thinking they are not good enough or qualified to do what they do. This feeling can manifest in different ways, including feelings of inadequacy, chronic self-doubt and persistent fear of being found out for the fraud one perceives themselves to be.

You can always get the Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Training Here.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever have the feeling that people are always judging, or worse than just judging? That they can see your flaws and mistakes more clearly than anything else about you? Like even if you do a good job at work, some secret committee is whispering to one another saying “aha! See what he did wrong there. He’s not as smart as we thought.”

This podcast explores: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome at work and covers:

  • Communicating with impact
  • Building your belief system to overcome self-doubt
  • Ensuring the culture supports building confidence

Imposter syndrome is when someone has an internal fear of being exposed by their own success which leads them to fail to take credit for achievements. It comes from thinking that other people think you are useless.

Impostor syndrome or imposter syndrome if you prefer

Imposter syndrome is a term that was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes to describe the phenomenon of high-achieving people who are plagued with feelings of inadequacy, fraudulence, and self-doubt despite evidence of their success.

Many successful professionals are unable to internalise their accomplishments because they feel like an imposter or a phoney, incapable of doing anything worthwhile without help from others.

overcoming imposter syndrome at work

Self-doubt is the core of imposter syndrome

Kim-adele explains how the voice in her head used to tell her she was no good and Kim-adele didn’t want to teach her daughter to behave in the same way too when she grew up.

“I am a very creative and talented person who is always learning new things! I love my family, friends and pets; their love for me feels so safe. This world can be an amazing place if we make it that way together. And we are in charge of our own happiness because no one else will do that for us.”

Kim-adele explained how she decided it was time to stop being awful to herself. And how overcoming impostor syndrome at work supports a winning culture and even though we experience impostor feelings and our mental health is affected by this imposter phenomenon, successful women can certainly move beyond impostor phenomenon.

Whilst impostor syndrome is rife in the corporate world and many capable people suffer, it is not just restricted to high achieving women and successful women. Mental health and impostor syndrome in particular affects everyone.

If you do suffer from this impostor phenomenon, there are many things that you can do to get help, reading books, listening to podcasts, studying the impostor phenomenon will bring you clarity and once you realise you aren’t alone with this impostor phenomenon this is the beginning of trusting in your own abilities and building your own success in beating this impostor phenomenon.

If you are still struggling with your secret thoughts and wonder why capable people like you are plagued by this impostor phenomenon then perhaps it is time to get help.

You can get help for impostor syndrome from a specialist mental health professional, therapeutic intervention is maybe necessary for this impostor phenomenon; you can explore options; cognitive behavioural therapists, hypnotists, hypnotherapists or specialist coaches.

Kim-Adele is a Leadership Coach and whilst she is an expert in business she is also an impostor syndrome expert as she used to live with impostor syndrome for decades and managed to move beyond it to live a much happier life.

Despite evidence of success she still continued to feel like a fraud

No matter what success Kim-adele had achieved she still continued to feel like a fraud.

According to the studies around imposter syndrome and our own work on the subject these “I am statements” are formed by the time we are 7, enforced by the time we are 14, and pretty much embedded by the time we are 21.

The impostor phenomenon certainly affects high achieving women

Kim-adele explains a bit about her journey about thinking she wasn’t good enough and how her belief system has been changed and she has built her new belief system. Overcoming imposter syndrome at work has been extremely difficult for Kim-adele over the years and thanks to her research and determination she has managed to move beyond this phenomenon to lead a happier life.

You are good enough and need to stop looking to your subconscious brain to find evidence that you aren’t good enough. The happy little helper (subconscious) mind become the legs on the table of our new belief.

Imposter syndrome or impostor syndrome is not something you can put up with, and as a leader, it’s important to work on improving the culture in order to build confidence.

It isn’t just women who suffer from this either, checkout an Interview with Scott Francis CEO below

How we spend our time matters for building self-confidence because when we are looking at all the negatives in life or even just someone else’s successes versus ours, that comparison actually builds negative energy which becomes fuel for imposter syndrome.

If you’re feeling like an imposter, then you need to take action.

– Identify the negative beliefs and replace them with positive ones

– Get some coaching or mentoring in order to better understand your strengths

– Seek feedback from others who can help provide a different perspective and inspire confidence

– Communicate more often than not about what you are doing well so that it becomes second nature versus trying to hide mistakes or shortcomings. Studies show that people who always say good things about themselves actually have higher self-esteem because they feel empowered by all their successes in life. This is true for any person at work too!

The idea of being told we aren’t worthy enough when this happens over time with our own inner voice can be more brutal than even our teachers at school and our parents.

If we want people who feel they have been suppressed their whole lives to grow into confident leaders of tomorrow then we need to change how workplaces operate today so that more people become aware of:

  • The way they treat others
  • The way they treat themselves
  • The impact they can have on the world

Building Confidence at Work To Support A Winning Culture

Many people struggle with Impostor Syndrome at some point in their lives but overcoming these challenges requires the confidence to speak up and communicate effectively, build your belief system on truths rather than lies, and ensuring the culture supports building confidence.

Communication is crucial for supporting a winning culture

First, communication is critical for imposter syndrome because many of us are very good at what we do however lack the courage to put ourselves “out there” or share our accomplishments with others. If this sounds like you don’t worry there’s help! The first step is awareness which means understanding how much you have accomplished already will really help to build your confidence levels and keep your inner imposter in check.

The most common impostor syndrome symptoms

These are the most common symptoms of Impostor Syndrome and enemies of a winning culture:

Challenges can be so daunting that you might feel like it’s just a matter of time before they figure out that you’re not actually as competent as everyone know.

Feeling like you don’t deserve your success or praise

Feeling like you don’t deserve your success or feeling undeserving of praise because you believe that other people work harder than you do, so they should be doing better than where they are at professionally.

Expecting failure when you are given perfect opportunities

Expecting failure even when given good opportunities for success, underestimating yourself constantly, thinking others will see right through what’s really happening inside and find out that you’re not as good as them.

Feeling unworthy of success

These feelings can make one feel unworthy of their successes.

Being afraid to fail

Being afraid to fail often leads to depression and it restricts the success that your business will have as your teams are not functioning at optimum performance.

Being constantly worried you will be exposed as a fraud

Impostor syndrome is a complex psychological phenomenon that can have an extremely powerful and negative impact on your career.

A supportive culture gives you a higher chance of success

When you are suffering from imposter syndrome, overcoming it will be necessary for the success of your organisation and building confidence in yourself.

It is important to have a culture that supports those struggling with this issue and do not let people who suffer feel as if they are failures because of their inability to see themselves positively.

There is always hope…there’s always an opportunity! Believe you can overcome impostor syndrome at work by believing in yourself first! You deserve it!!

Here’s what we talked about in this episode:

– Imposter Syndrome affects an estimated 70% of us when we’re feeling overworked or challenged – It makes sense given how society tells us that only the best get ahead which leads to feelings

If you feel like you’re always one step away from being discovered, exposed as the fraud you know yourself to be then taking steps towards overcoming this syndrome will not only help improve how confident others perceive you but also provide long-lasting benefits for building self-confidence and creating sustainable success in your workplace with increased productivity and improved work relationships.

As leaders, it’s important to create cultures where people are able to build their confidence without fear of showing weakness or vulnerability because these traits actually make us stronger and smarter, especially when we use them to develop our resilience skillset.

Conclusion: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome is an important part of building a winning culture and a successful business. To do this, you need to communicate with impact and build your belief system. You also have to ensure that the company’s culture supports employees feeling confident in their abilities at work. If you’re struggling with these things or want help working through them, check out our 7 step guide on overcoming imposter syndrome!

You can also check out many of our other blogs on this crucial topic.

Here is a link to one of the other interviews: