Is everyone in the team more qualified than me?
Do I deserve this success?
Does that feedback mean they all hate me?
When will my luck run out?
Imposter syndrome is a universal experience. It’s sadly way too common for women and men of all ages and experiences to hold the internal perception that they’re not as competent as others think they are. And you’ve probably clicked on this because you’ve previously feared being exposed as a fraud (despite your objective success). It can reside in both our professional careers and personal lives, but the good news is you can challenge and overcome it. In a recent Masterclass Online presented by our friends at SEEK, we chatted to a panel of experts about how they overcome their imposter syndrome, and how you can, too.
Ever avoided applying for a role you’re qualified for, not asked for a pay rise or new project, or sold yourself short? Imposter syndrome tends to rear its ugly head when we’re embarking on new endeavours, when we’re taking new risks and when we’re at our most vulnerable. But it doesn’t have to.
Lisa Tobin, the managing director of technology at SEEK, has spent her career jumping between industries and credits this constant change to helping manage feelings of self-doubt. “Changing paths a lot has shown myself that I can do it. I have a constant dialogue with my inner imposter and reframe my thoughts to try to focus on logic and facts. While it might have been sliding doors moments or the kindness of mentors (that got me to where I am today), I have a right to be here, I have been playing the game. If you’ve got the guts, bravery and logic to try a new opportunity, the stats are on your side.”
Focusing on your hard-earned skills is another way to boost confidence and help you overcome imposter syndrome says Leah Lambart, career coach and founder of Relaunch Me. “Chat to your manager, clients, colleagues and loved ones to build a catalogue of evidence that you can turn to on days of self-doubt or when you’re seeking new opportunities. Ask questions like, ‘when do you see me at my best? When do you see me most energised?’ What value do I bring?’”
Leah also suggested referring back to the job description of your current role. It’s likely that you’re nailing the skills outlined, which should give you a good boost of confidence. And if you’re seeking an opportunity in a new industry, don’t overlook your technical skills. “We often only think of soft skills as our transferable skills, things like leadership, teamwork and communication skills. However, there are also technical hard skills, things like excel, that you use in a variety of industries. Our industries are changing dramatically, so it’s never been more important to identify what transferable skills you’ve got.”
And while it’s easy to assume we all share the same skills, in reality we don’t. “Our skillsets are all so diverse and make us all unique and valuable,” says Leah.
As a psychologist, Sabina Read has the privilege of unpacking the inner dialogue of countless women and men of all ages and experiences. “There’s often a sense that everyone else has read a magical manual that you didn’t get your hands on, whether it’s about law, parenting or technology. But it’s all bullshit! There is no manual, and no font of all knowledge.”
We’re all human with a wealth of knowledge and skills. By reframing your thoughts and putting your skills at the centre of the story you tell yourself, you’ll be well on your way to pushing through the noise of imposter syndrome.
You’re more skilled than you know. Discover your hidden talents today and put your skills to work.