Defeat the Fake You: Dealing With Negative Self-Talk in the Workplace

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A lot of corporate professionals today fear failure and dream of success in their respective fields. However, success brings with it another set of challenges as well. When success knocks on your door, so do problems related to that success. Sometimes these problems may manifest as jealous co-workers, higher levels of stress and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

However, the most insidious of these challenges comes from within. Studies by various publications have shown that about 70% of professionals face Imposter Syndrome at some point in their career.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Simply put, Imposter Syndrome is a nagging, constant feeling of inadequacy. Corporate professionals who are otherwise very successful in their careers, may internally struggle with chronic self-doubt and may even believe that they are a “fraud” who “got lucky”. Usually, these negative feelings are nothing more than lies told to oneself with no real basis in actual fact.

Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a fairly widespread challenge faced by successful professionals. Some of the most common signs of Imposter Syndrome include:

  • Perfectionism - Professionals who focus too much on completing a task “perfectly” can be overly critical of themselves for the slightest mistake. This can lead to them feeling like a failure due to not achieving their own definition of perfection.
  • Downplaying success - While having some humility is a commendable trait in successful people, those suffering from Imposter Syndrome may be unwilling to celebrate their own accomplishments. Instead, they claim to have gotten lucky, downplaying their own effort in achieving the goal.
  • Inability to ask for help - When professionals feel like “frauds” in their profession, they fear asking for help with difficult tasks due to the misconception that asking for help will show their “incompetence”.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome on a daily basis can have a very negative impact on one’s confidence, limiting their ability to go after new opportunities as they feel unqualified.

Tips to deal with Imposter Syndrome

  • Become aware - The first step to dealing with a problem is to face it. Acknowledge your feelings of self-doubt. However, instead of engaging with the negative thoughts that come with it, tell yourself that it is a normal response to the situation.
  • Facts over feelings - Sometimes, our feelings about a situation can drive us down the wrong path. When it comes to feelings of inadequacy, focus on the facts of the matter. Look at your accomplishments and accolades as proof that you are qualified for the job you are doing.
  • Reach out - Seeking help for negative thoughts from peers and loved ones is always a good thing. When you feel your negative self-talk spiralling out of control, reach out for help.
  • Reframe - Your negative self-talk isn’t doing you any favours. Make it a point to stop your train of thought when it starts to go down the track of self-doubt and fear of failure. With time, you can train yourself to stop negative thoughts as they come.

In Closing

An inability to embrace success can cause you to feel like you're not adequate, you don't have a place, or you are undeserving. However, it is important to remember that making and learning from mistakes doesn't make you a “fraud” – it makes you human! Rather than questioning yourself, use the tips listed above to rebuild your self-confidence and self-esteem. Celebrate your successes and remember that you are here not because you fooled someone into believing that you are competent, but because you actually deserve to be here.

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Click here to know how our mental health services can help create a healthier future for corporate professionals.


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