I’m on week two of my new contract, and there’s always a natural bit of self-doubt that creeps in around this time. As a contractor, I have to get up to speed quickly. There’s lots of information coming my way and some of it I don’t understand right now. I have learned over the years to try not to get overwhelmed at this point and be kind to myself and allow myself the time and space to learn what I need. I have also learned to go right ahead and ask lots of questions so that I can pick things up quickly.
My mantra is “Don’t worry, I’m not supposed to know all of this right now, and I’ve got time to learn it.” I also remind myself that those around me don’t expect me to know everything yet.
Self-doubt and the anxiety this causes often happens at the beginning of a new job, and it’s important to give yourself time to get past it.
Self-doubt is entirely natural and different from Imposter Syndrome which is an unusual phenomenon but also something to watch out for.
People who experience imposter syndrome are unable to internalise their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud” and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
Did you know that 70% of people get Imposter syndrome?
It’s not always specific to work as it affects people in other situations too, like becoming a parent or social situations?
Nor is it gender specific as both women and men get it from time to time. The big difference is that men think that everybody gets it and women tend to attribute it to their nature.
Even Albert Einstein once said, ‘The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.’
Here are 7 ways you can overcome Imposter Syndrome:
1) Know what your strengths are.
This can help you understand where your skills lie. Find out how to play up to strengths here.
2) Share your feelings with someone
You might feel overwhelmed, but if you ask someone close to you, I bet they will tell you that you’re doing great and ask them to give you examples.
3) Recognise what you can do and chunk it down
Breaking large tasks into smaller ones can help you to focus on the smaller tasks which are achievable and worry less about the big picture.
4) Play with applying the 80% rule
Don’t get too focused on making everything perfect. Try to accept that good, is good enough. Go for optimal rather than perfection as you can often spend a lot of time trying to perfect something but not make that much difference. The tactic I use here is; use the 80% rule, down tools and sleep on it. Fresh eyes can often help add some colour to your first attempt without much effort.
5) Are you scared of failure?
How you view failure can contribute to Impostor Syndrome. Entrepreneurs see failure as something that just didn’t work. They accept it and move on. Practice viewing failure as a learning experience.
6) Ask those around you for feedback
This can help you check where you are and what you need to work on.
7) Learn to accept a compliment and say thank you
If others are recognising your talents then why don’t you? Learn to take control of your thoughts. Think about how your view of the situation might not be entirely correct. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break!
“If you’re going to doubt something, doubt your limits.” Don Ward
So many of us struggle to overcome imposter syndrome. Listen to Viola Davis behind the scenes Oscar night and what she has to say about Imposter Syndrome. Hold back those tears.
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