Practical Action for Defeating Impostor Syndrome at work

What is impostor syndrome

What is impostor syndrome?

For many people that are not convincingly aware of what it is, this is the exact question in their minds. And the interesting thing is that this question doesn’t appear in their minds by accident. Chances are that these people already have impostor syndrome in their lives.

On the other hand, some people like you are specifically interested in how to deal with impostor syndrome in the workplace. And that is what this article is all about.

Before proceeding let us look at the actual meaning first even though there could be many definitions.

Impostor syndrome is a persistent inability for someone to believe that their accomplished is deserved or has been achieved through the legitimate application of personal effort. It also involves a subtle but internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Just as there are many types and causes of impostor syndrome in different contexts, there are many ways to deal with it. Below these lines, we’ll look at how to deal with impostor syndrome in the workplace. As you are reading down, take note of the common symptoms. Probably, you’ll become informed enough to identify familiar symptoms you do experience very often.

  1. Increase Self Awareness

The first step you have to take is to increase self-awareness a little bit. Identify what you feel, why you feel that way and possible consequences. Since impostor syndrome is a type of problem you cannot see with your eyes, failing to identify what it is and why you have it will only make it last longer than necessary.

Watch out for feelings of anxiety, depression, doubt and worries. Even dwelling on subtle blames from your colleagues in the workplace can prolong reinforcement of insecurities.

  1. Celebrate Small Wins

According to James Clear, ‘’it is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on daily basis.’’

While you are waiting for that big outcome or promotion that will make you happier than ever, don’t forget to celebrate small wins. Reach this LifeHack post to learn why and how to celebrate small wins. Make it a habit and you’ll be getting closer to your biggest occupational goals.

Moreover, the feelings you get from doing so will be enough to forcefully challenge every symptom of impostor syndrome.

Now think about the small wins relating to your personal career goals or workplace responsibilities.

  1. Build A Career Support Network

First, don’t be a perfectionist. And you don’t have to be overly dependent on your personal skills and experiences. Specifically, in your workplace, there are times when you’ll run into a hurdle. So if you have to depend on your personal strengths with a perfectionist mentality, the problem will last longer than you realize.

Based on the findings of one 75 year-long study at Harvard, ‘embracing community builds up our social support network which contributes to happier and longer lives’’.

There are two specific ways you can try to achieve this. First is to try getting along in a better way and with more of your peers in the workplace. This matters even more when you are a newbie. This will give you an opportunity to ask for feedback regarding your own thoughts and performance when required.

Secondly don’t wait for statutory review sessions before asking for feedback from your boss. Getting prompt guidance and feedback will help you accomplish more with your potential.

Remember, having great potential is one thing. Making maximum use of is a different challenge.

  1. Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

If unchecked for a while, impostor syndrome can normalize itself both in your thoughts, actions and reaction to certain behavioural triggers. When this happens, it keeps you trapped in a position of performing below your existing potential.

To reiterate in a different way, impostor syndrome is simply a collection of insecurities. Don’t get comfortable with that.

In the context of the work environment, going out of your comfort zone may mean asking your boss for additional budget to pursue a certain organization goal. Moreover, this could also mean the same as requesting permission to have access to important data set.

Fortunately, if you become more empowered as described above, your creativity will be sparked for peak exceptional peak performance.

For example, if you are in human resource related role, think of what you can do with advanced HR technology systems.

  1. Stop Making Comparison

Aimless comparison in the workplace could be more harmful than good. If you for the habit of doing that in your workplace, then the impostor syndrome will be reinforced degrade you more.

People are different. And so it is with their background, experience and attitude.

One of the key reasons why comparison is so bad is that it can breed a hostile competitive attitude. And when it gets to that level, even friends can become foes in the workplace. Whether you are team manager or member of a team in your workplace, this is something you have to watch out for. The best you can do is to spare that mental energy for something positive.

  1. Start Journaling

Even though human brain is naturally wired for pleasure, negative emotions can be so powerful to the extent of causing harm before being detected. And the pain that comes with it is really hard to defeat in most cases. What can you then?

Start writing a journal of personal accomplishments and positive feedback. Different from the time you spend writing them, intentional reflections can on them help you defeat impostor syndrome.

Don’t just write and forget about them. You may choose to use a note taking app on your phone or make a folder in your laptop.


If you think about it deeply, there are too many ways you can try towards defeating impostor syndrome. However, putting the ideas listed here to work will certainly give you power over the chronic feelings that defeat you most of the time.

Like I said earlier, this one type of problem you cannot see with your physical eyes. So go try these options and see what the outcome will be likely.

Probably, you’ll become empowered to unleash your potential for bigger achievements.

Hansica Kh.