Many of us are familiar with Imposter Syndrome: the overwhelming feeling that we aren’t good enough to deserve our job or current circumstances. Even top professionals feel this way from time to time. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, “It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments.”
Self-doubt is a completely normal feeling; it’s human nature to question our worth. However, it’s important to have tools prepared to restore confidence during periods of self-doubt. HJG Staffing has compiled 5 effective strategies to restore confidence and self-worth at work.
- Remind Yourself Why You Got Hired:
At the end of the day, you were hired for a reason. It could be the skillset on your resume, your personality, or a combination of multiple aspects. Whatever the reason, the hiring manager made the decision to choose you.
“When I feel insecure about my abilities,” says Anna, a photographer, “I remember that the people booking me have seen my portfolio and trust my abilities.” Anna realizes that her self-doubt is rooted in different fears. “I worry someone won’t be satisfied with the images, that my camera will malfunction, or something will go wrong.” Being in touch with her fears allows Anna to put everything into perspective.
Reminding ourselves that we were chosen for a reason can be a simple way to calm doubt and worry.
2. Communicate with Your Supervisor:
Communication is the key to successful relationships, and it can also help build your confidence. Requesting meetings or scheduling regular check-ins with your manager presents the opportunity to ease your mind and gain clarity. If you meet regularly with your supervisor, having your own checklist readily available can help you ask the right questions or voice your thoughts.
Jimmy, a software engineer, takes the opportunity to ask his manager about his performance. “Even though we have performance reviews every quarter, I still like to reach out to my boss occasionally. It helps build my confidence, because I know through regular communication, it provides the chance for my manager and me to express ourselves.”
A good rule of thumb is to remember that ultimately, if your manager has an issue with your performance, it is their responsibility to bring that to your attention. However, regular check-ins and communication can help some people feel the boost of confidence they need to feel secure at work. This isn’t limited to meetings either; a simple email can suffice.
3. Make a List:
One way to instill confidence is by making two lists. On one list, write down your skills and other positive things you bring to your job. This can be assets such as expertise you would include on your resume, but it can also include personality traits. Being a team player, a positive influence, and other traits can be included on the list.
This will provide a visual representation of your positive contributions. On the next list, write down all the areas in which you’d like to improve. It can be as simple or in-depth as you like. “I tend to be a shyer person,” says Carla, an educator. “There are times when I’d like to communicate my needs better, so I made a list of small steps I can take to achieve this.”
Writing our goals and areas of improvement, no matter the size, can increase motivation and build self-worth. It also helps us break down these aspirations into achievable steps. Recognizing our value and skills while simultaneously examining the areas we want to grow is an effective strategy to increase self-esteem.
4. Find Interests Outside of Work:
Ruminating on performance can lead to a negative headspace. While observing our skills can be positive, it can reach a point of detriment. At the end of the day, there is more to life than work, even if we love our job! Engaging in hobbies and other enjoyable activities creates a healthy work-life balance. Sometimes, we bring the stressors and events of work home, which can lead to stress and doubt.
If you are aware of your hobbies, making time to engage in them is a healthy and fun way to take the mind off work. However, not everyone is aware of the things that bring them joy. A good place to start is remembering what you enjoyed as a child. “I used to build model planes with my dad,” Amber remembers. “I started doing this again, and it takes so much concentration that I don’t have room to think about work or stress. It’s great!”
Sometimes, however, we outgrow our childhood interests. The exciting part of this is that it allows the exploration of new activities and interests. There are meet-up groups and lists of hobbies online. From writing movie reviews to taking a dance class, there’s a hobby for everyone.
5. Play Worst Scenario:
Imagining the worst-case scenario can be scary and difficult. This won’t be for everyone, but it can also ease anxiety. For instance, James held an irrational fear of being fired from every job. While he knew this was irrational, it didn’t stop the fear from persisting. “My therapist told me to write a list of ‘and then whats’ on a piece of paper.”
Worst case scenario:
I get fired from my job.
And then what?
I’m sad and feel ashamed.
And then what?
I start to look for another job.
And then what?
I eventually get hired.
And then what?
I have a job again.
This activity can show us that we can honor our feelings while having the power to survive our worst fears. While it isn’t easy to address these fears, it can have life-changing benefits. Aside from revealing our ability to handle what life throws at us, it can also uncover our fears and help us discover where they may originate. “My fear of being fired from every job originates from my lack of belief in myself and fear of making mistakes. I now remind myself that every single person makes mistakes.”
It is human nature to have moments or long periods of self-doubt and insecurity. While this can be uncomfortable and scary, it’s also an opportunity to grow and remind ourselves of the value we hold. Keeping these steps in your self-love toolbox can assist in pulling you out of insecure moments. Remember, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing to remember is that your worth as a human is not defined by them.