5 Tips for tacking the imposter syndrome – By Pam Cottman – Business and Personal Coach

Have you ever heard a little voice telling you you’re out of your depth, not good enough, not up to the task or shouldn’t be in that role or room?

Imposter Syndrome: coined by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes 40 years ago, it is a corroder of confidence, belittler of self-belief, and all-round holder-back when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone and reaching your potential. And when it comes to career transitions – new roles, changing industry, redundancy, returning to work after a career break, and everything in between – Imposter Syndrome has the ability to hold us back to the point of inaction.

If that all sounds familiar, you’re not on your own. A recent study of over 3,000 UK adults showed that 62% have suffered from Imposter Syndrome within the last 12 months, and Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, and Lady Gaga have all cited Imposter Syndrome as a challenge they continue to tackle.

Tackling Imposter Syndrome involves building your self-confidence, self-worth and self-belief and here are 5 ways to go about it:

  • Who are you and what’s important to you?

At points of transition, it helps to go back to basics. Thinking about what’s important to you will help you to get clear about your values, a great starting point when you’re looking at new roles, companies, and career paths. And if you’re struggling to decide on which path to choose, consider the advice of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert and follow your curiosity: think about what you’re interested in and find out more about it. It’s far easier to feel confident and capable in a job interview, new role or project, when you’re focusing on something you want to do.

  • Develop a positive, growth mindset

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t – you’re right.” The key to challenging negative beliefs is to develop a positive, growth mindset, which reminds us that it’s ok not to be perfect (on our best days, we’ll remember that perfection doesn’t exist); it’s ok to be choose a different path; and it’s ok to make progress at a different rate to those around you. A growth mindset recognises that progress comes from practice, making mistakes, learning from them, putting yourself out there and being inspired by, rather than negatively comparing yourself, to others – an important reminder during career transition.

  • Use body language to create confidence

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language highlights the power of body language over how others see us, and how we feel about ourselves. When we’re feeling less than confident, it shows in our body language. – but we can use our body language to help us feel more confident. Cuddy’s research shows that standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident, can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success. So practise standing like a superhero – open up your shoulders, stand tall, look up, slow down your breathing – and you can start to feel more positive, and more capable.

  • Focus on your strengths

Remind yourself of what you’ve already accomplished over the course of your career – what are your greatest successes, strengths, and experiences? And if you’re returning to work after a break, remember the value of everything that happens outside the workplace – what would your best friend/ partner/ sister say are your best qualities/ greatest successes over the past year?

  • Talk about it

One of the best ways to challenge Imposter Syndrome is to open up conversations about it because, more often than not, you’ll find you’re not the only one feeling like a fraud. Talk to friends, family, colleagues; look around social media and follow people/ accounts that inspire you; and when you’re feeling inspired by others, ask them how they’re doing it, and what they’ve learned along the way.

Spend some time thinking about exploring and practising these 5 tips for tackling Imposter Syndrome, and be proud of who you are and what you have to offer as your authentic and valuable self.

About the company :

Transition Peak Limited™ is an online career coaching and training portal that helps companies and individuals move forward and faster following redundancy, retirement or return. Our online programs provide access to tutorials, documents and checklists. We also connect individuals with some of the best career transition coaches and experts in the UK. The coaches and experts can provide workshops, group or one-to-one coaching. Find out more on www.transitionpeak.com

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About the Author

Pam Cottman, Business and Personal Coach
Pam CottmanBusiness and Personal Coach
Pam is a qualified Business and Personal Coach, a member of the International Coach Federation, a trainer, a consultant, and a mum of two boys. A former Assistant Headteacher, Pam spent 14 years working with students, staff, parents and governors to support the development of young people and her teams. Following her second maternity leave, she now runs her own business, working with individuals, teams and organisations, supporting them to reach their potential, and focusing particularly on building resilience, a vital resource for managing any transition.