I've Personally Dealt With Imposter Syndrome at Work — Here Are 3 Things I Did to Get Past It

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Melanie Wexler1.18k
Career & Life Coach - Goals, Success & Mindset

Have you ever felt like a fraud? Maybe you experienced anxiety someone would “find out you weren’t really as good as you said were”, or have you set some completely unrealistic expectations for yourself and consistently fall short?  Yes, that’s me. Many times over in fact. 

I spent over 20 years as a recruiter and built a rather successful career. In 2018, I pivoted to career coaching full-time and went into full imposter syndrome mode. Despite seeing some early success I truly didn’t believe in myself. In fact, a client would hire me and I literally would ask myself “why did they hire me, I am really not that good”. The truth is I didn’t value all of the experience and knowledge I had and dismissed the value I brought to my clients because of my background. The truth it has only been this past year that I am realizing how important this experience truly is.  

When you feel like an imposter, you tend to self-sabotage your own successes by obsessing over minor mistakes or working twice as hard to prove just to prove to everyone how great you are. Over the last 4 years, I continually work on my mindset and self-esteem and have learned a few strategies on how I can continue to move forward without negatively impacting my career and life.  

Here are 3 strategies that I employ when I simply do not believe in myself and how I am working to become a better version of myself in both my work and life!  

1. Say thank you.

The biggest challenge I see working with my clients is that they constantly underplay their achievements. Have you ever received acknowledgment from your boss or co-worker for something you have achieved? And instead of simply, saying “Thank You” you simply dismiss it with “oh it really was nothing”, “It really was not that hard”? or something along those lines? 

STOP! Say Thank You and welcome the acknowledgment. In fact, it is even ok to let your boss or coworkers know you are proud of your success rather than dismissing it as unimportant.  

2. Celebrate your wins.

When is the last time you had something big happen to you at work but instead of shouting it from the rooftops you kept it to yourself? I mean, after all, no one likes someone that is not humble. 

Stop! Don’t keep these successes to yourself! Humility is a great attribute, but you don’t have to sacrifice humility for recognizing your successes. The truth is the more you put yourself out there, the more people can see you as the expert and leader you are in your workplace.   

When you openly celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small you are combatting imposter syndrome. 

Keep a record of your wins! This can help you stay motivated when imposter syndrome tells you that you can’t do something or you are not good enough.  I use the recommendations on my website from my clients as this reminder. Whenever I have a difficult client or I am really questioning whether am I actually helping anyone, I stop and read those recommendations out loud. They remind me of how many people I have helped and how much they appreciated the work I did for them. 

Imposter syndrome wants you to forget about your achievements and by keeping track of them, you can combat this simply by remembering exactly what you have and are capable of achieving.  

3. Strategize your goals.

Sometimes you feel like a fraud or simply a failure because you have been setting unrealistic goals and deadlines for yourself. I am a huge advocate of goal setting, but in doing so you have to be strategic in how you plan on achieving your goals.  

Break your goals into smaller, more manageable components and focus on one thing at a time. If you stay focused and consistent, you’ll get much further than if you tried to tackle everything at once. Block out your schedule for the week, making sure to devote time to your biggest priorities. Divide your day into smaller periods dedicated to secondary tasks, and then reserve the rest of your day for those activities that are going to give you the biggest momentum toward your goals. By doing this, you can get a handle on what you need to do in the short and long term.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is a process, remember that you are where you are because you’ve worked hard and earned your success. Don’t trick yourself into believing this is not true. With the right tools in your back pocket, you can better trust your capabilities and recognize your achievements even when your fears tell you otherwise.

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Bringing 20 years of recruiting and staffing experience, Melanie started Career & Life Coaching in 2017 to help people find meaningful and fulfilling work. Her success as a recruiter was driven by her ability to get her candidates hired. It is this innate knowledge of the market that she brings to her clients now as they navigate the job search process.  

Melanie helps her clients with everything from resumes, job searches, interviewing, LinkedIn strategies, and building a successful personal brand. She thrives on helping her clients better understand themselves, understand the job searching process, and help them achieve their goals and land their dream jobs. find their passion, achieve their goals, and succeed in their careers.   

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for dealing with imposter syndrome? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!