Ever felt like you’ll be found out for being a fraud in your new gig? Welcome to imposter syndrome! Learn to silence the inner critic with our 5 tips for how to smash your new role.
Nothing is worse than a first day in a new job with those horrible, awkward newbie nerves.
You’ve got the new job, the new promotion or the dream gig. You arrive on your first day with a certain amount of dread. How the heck did you pull this off? And now the realisation sets in that you have to walk the talk but you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing! Worse than that, you don’t know if you actually have the skills to do the job, what were they thinking? Send help!
Sounding the alarm
It feels like there’s an alert bell hanging over your desk, ready to go off at any second and announce to everyone that you have actually faked it – you are not qualified for the job and should now abandon your post and leave the building. Welcome to imposter syndrome: it’s a psychological term coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It refers to the internal process that an individual experiences of doubting their own abilities and believing they don’t have the skills to do the job.
“…They think they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which [should] provide ample objective evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to diminish the impostor belief.”
The good news is that these thoughts are likely to be only occurring in your head. The company would have reviewed your CV, spoken to your references and seen the positives and growth potential in you during the job interview. The way to move through imposter syndrome is to call it out for what it is (an internal reaction) and remind yourself that your identity and work self is not defined by your thoughts. In other words, your thoughts do not define you. Simply acknowledge them for what they are – negative thoughts – and send them on their way.
Image credit: https://www.rachelhill.co.nz/blog/whatisimpostersyndrome
Any new role or growth in our careers requires a stretch. This initial stretch can feel uncomfortable, particularly if imposter syndrome is hanging around like that bad smell in your office fridge. You can shorten the time spent in this awkward zone by being proactive and deliberate with your learning. Take the reins back and take charge.
Here’s our 5 tips to ensure you smash your new gig
- Replicate – find someone that you admire and assess what you think makes them successful. This can be someone in the organisation, outside of work even a celebrity. Having a work role model can be really helpful in figuring out what parts of yourself you’d like to turn up.
- Gap assessment – figure out the differences between where your role model and you are in your careers. What do you perceive as their strengths? What areas can you target for your own development? Working on these areas can help to build confidence.
- Your strengths – it’s great to have a development plan, but make sure you remember what your unique skills are. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, make sure you find situations to display your top skills.
- Seek inspiration – creativity breeds growth and positivity. Surround yourself in positive situations and do things that inspire you, even if this only happens outside of work. Research topics that interest you, watch an inspiring film, meet with different people. Follow trends in other sectors and bring those principles or tools to your team or role.
- Absorb – as humans we are naturally self absorbed, especially during heightened times of stress or pressure. Ensure you take the time to look at what is happening around you. What conversations are happening? What projects are people talking about? Can you tag along to meetings?
We all experience imposter syndrome from time to time and we are all prone to experiencing anxiety when starting new roles. Be prepared by knowing that these things are likely to crop up and address them as they arise.