How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome (& Fear of Judgement) At Work

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

*Ding!* Buzz word alert, am I right?!

Impostor syndrome is something I've been talking about a lot on podcasts recently (check out the conversations here), the way it holds us back from contributing & being our best, brilliant selves at work & in particular, in meetings.

Let's clarify one thing up front - impostor syndrome is not something you're 'diagnosed with' - it's not a disease, a condition, or something to recover from. The concept describes a feeling that many people (unfortunately, many women) have in situations (usually at work) where they feel like a fraud, like they don't deserve to be there, like they're not as good/intelligent/experienced & therefore deserving of success as others around them.

It might be something you've always felt in every job you've ever had, from the word go. It might be that you recently got promoted & now you feel out of your comfort zone. It might be something that's built as a result of being in a toxic environment or even workplace bullying.

To whatever degree you feel it, however long you've felt it, & however it's holding you back - know that you are not alone, it's not your fault, & you can overcome it.

Leaving the labels behind, let's take a look at how it might be showing up for you & the one simple thing you can do to feel a whole lot more confident!

For many, speaking up in meetings - sharing ideas, making suggestions, contributing to discussions, agreeing or disagreeing with others - can be a really uncomfortable situation. Maybe it's because everyone else around the table is older than you, has been in the company longer than you, is more senior than you, or is simply louder than you!

You might be sitting there unable to get a word in edgeways. Maybe you've spoken up before & went unheard or were deliberately ignored (awkward). Perhaps you've made a suggestion previously & accidentally threw someone under the bus (or they took your idea & the credit along with it!)

Here's what I want you to remember next time you're in that situation:

What you're there to achieve is more important than how you look, trying.

An old mentor of mine once told me "you don't have to be the expert to contribute to the conversation"

One day, you might be the most senior person at that table. Right now, you just have to be AT the table. Whether you feel the least experienced or you actually are, the purpose of you (all) being there is a shared goal - whatever the outcome is you're trying to achieve, the best chance you have of getting there as quickly as possible, is by embracing ALL of the available resources - that includes you & your contribution.

Even 'bad' ideas that don't move forward prompt thought & discussion. Ruling something out is still a step forwards. So even if all you do is make suggestions that aren't taken on, you're still helping (plus - the more you do it, the more involved in the discussion you'll be, & the quicker you'll learn & find the great ideas!)

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