Are you suffering from imposter syndrome?

Do you ever feel like you got your job as a result of pure luck? That it wasn’t the result of any skill or hard work, and that you’ve been fooling your coworkers? And do you worry that someone’s going to unmask you as a fraud?

You may be suffering from imposter syndrome.

“Imposter syndrome isn’t actually a syndrome or a clinical diagnosis, but rather a largely universal fear of not being good enough,” says Sabina Read, a psychologist and the host of SEEK’s career advice TV show, Dream Job.

This phenomenon was coined by psychologist Pauline Clance in 1985 and plagues many people to this day, making us feel like imposters in our own jobs. It’s also often a key factor that holds many of us back from achieving our full potential in our careers.

Imposter syndrome isn’t actually a syndrome or a clinical diagnosis, but rather a largely universal fear of not being good enough.

If this sounds like you, don’t be alarmed. Not only are you not alone in feeling this way, but there are things you can do to overcome it. But first, you need to familiarise yourself with the phenomenon.

Why do we get imposter syndrome?
Often we fall into a cycle of working hard, being super diligent, or utilising traits such as charm or empathy, all of which tend to bring positive results.

But with imposter syndrome, we see success as a result of luck, not hard work, and then we feel like a fraud. We worry we might not be able to have the same success again. So we work even harder, to avoid being seen as a fraud. And before we know it, we’re on the imposter syndrome treadmill, and we can’t get off.

How can imposter syndrome negatively impact your career?
Unfortunately, imposter syndrome can impact our careers in numerous negative ways. Including, preventing us from applying for a new job, leading us to become workaholics in an attempt to avoid failure, and trying to please everyone, often at the cost of our own well-being.

If you think you may be suffering from imposter syndrome, learn to nip it in the bud with our tips, below.

How to overcome imposter syndrome

  • Recognise it when you see it. If you have that nagging feeling that you’re not good enough, you first need to acknowledge it. It’s important to name it so we can tame it!

  • Focus on the positive. Try to stop doubting yourself and your abilities. Look at the correlation between actual positive behaviour and positive outcomes, rather than searching for self-doubt or where there may be gaps. Remember what you have achieved.

  • Don’t minimise your success. You may be tempted to chalk up any achievements to luck, or call it a fluke. Don’t! I’m always quick to politely interrupt someone when they attribute pure luck to their success. Even those with a healthy dose of luck usually possess many genuine skills to create positive outcomes.

  • Acknowledge your accomplishments. There may be plenty of things you don’t know, but shine the light on what you have done well, and challenge the negative or black and white thoughts that hijack you.

In other words, own your achievements, accept compliments, and celebrate when you do well, and you will be well on your way to overcoming imposter syndrome.

Get that raise: 3 expert tips to negotiate like a boss

If the idea of discussing salary with your manager makes you squirm, you’re not alone. A new survey by SEEK of Australian workers aged 18 to 64 found that while two-thirds (66%) nominate salary as the most important reason they go to work, an incredible 75% have never asked for a pay rise.

This is despite the fact that one in three (29%) believe they’re underpaid and one in two (51%) believe an employer will never offer staff more money unless they ask for it.

Sabina Read, SEEK’s Resident Psychologist, says that for most people money is a loaded topic.

How to work with someone you don’t like

Is there someone at work that you just can’t get along with? Chances are you have a personality clash.

But while it might feel frustrating, you’re not resigned to butting heads, or being best friends, either—there are ways to get along and get the job done. SEEK’s Resident Psychologist provides advice on how to do just that.  

Sixty percent of Australians have had a bad experience working with someone who has a different personality to them, SEEK research reveals. This can arise from having different ways of getting things done, dealing with conflict in different ways, and communication issues.

The untold benefits of being a young adult living at home

It was perhaps when my parents – who also happen to be my housemates – left to go travelling for a couple months recently that it dawned on me why I had not yet left the family home.

It wasn’t that I relied on them for logistical reasons, or to keep my life in order, or to ease the chaos of the home. These days, I rely on them for their company.

I missed coming home and talking about my day at work, I missed being able to read their faces and sense how their day was. I missed having unique insight into the minutiae of their days, or being privy to the mundane, tiny details that make a life.