Imposter Syndrome At Work – Imposter syndrome is a condition that plagues many individuals in our society, especially those who tend to have jobs with high performance expectations. Despite the outward appearance of success and competence, the individual feels that they are not worthy of their position, no matter how hard they have worked, and they are essentially “faking it.” Individuals battling imposter syndrome are unable to feel positively or proud of their success, as they feel that they do not deserve it and their believed incompetence will be found out at any moment.

At its roots, imposter syndrome is a mental health condition that results from a mismatch between internal feelings of self-worth and competency and external markers of success and value. The negative feelings of imposter syndrome can lead to pervasive anxiety, as the individual feels a strong sense of foreboding, or that time is running out for them before they are “discovered.” In today’s high stakes and fast-paced work environments, imposter syndrome is incredibly common—almost seventy percent of adults have experienced it at some point in their lives—but that doesn’t mean that it should be considered a normal aspect of mental health.

Signs you might be experiencing imposter syndrome

Some signs that you might be dealing with imposter syndrome include:

  • Constantly working harder than required or spending hours overworking yourself to the point of burnout
  • Identifying as a perfectionist and taking it to the extreme—micromanaging projects and agonizing over every tiny detail to ensure that your work appears “perfect.”
  • Struggling with degrees of success—meaning that if you don’t perform the best that you possibly can every single time, you count it as a failure
  • Lacking confidence in your own abilities and constantly seeking external feedback and validation of a job well done

As you can see, these symptoms place an enormous amount of stress and pressure on an individual, which can lead to the development or exacerbation of other mental health conditions, most commonly anxiety and depression, but also conditions such as eating disorders or substance abuse disorders. The ramifications on your life are extreme, even if it seems that you are just doing what you must to survive.

How to overcome imposter syndrome

Because imposter syndrome stems from a person feeling inherently unworthy of their own accomplishments, pointing out markers that they are successful and competent is not an effective strategy. Working with a counsellor such as one of the experienced team at Horizon Plymouth can be helpful, as a professional can help you to understand a variety of mental causes that might be contributing to your imposter syndrome. Often, the true issue lies much deeper and getting to the root cause is important for healing.

Additionally, feelings of self-doubt and diminished self-efficacy contribute heavily to feelings of imposter syndrome in the workplace. Working through these specific mental health areas with a counsellor may be able to help you start to take ownership over your hard-earned and well-deserved successes once again. Sometimes the relentless pressures of a high-stress work environment can also contribute to these feelings, making your progress and accomplishments feel unsustainable. In these instances, it may be helpful to take a step back and evaluate external factors that may be diminishing your mental health.

If you or someone you know is dealing with the negative impacts of imposter syndrome, know that help is available and there are ways to work through these feelings. The counsellors at Horizon Plymouth are available to try to help you understand the root causes of your imposter syndrome and to take ownership of your success and accomplishments once again. Contact Horizon Plymouth today to schedule your initial consultation!

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