You hope no one notices that you are dealing with insecurity at your new job. After all, this is a big step up, and you’re convinced you pulled one over on the people who hired you.
How could they not see through to all your inadequacies? Surely it’s only a matter of time before they do.
You wanted this job. You worked your tail off to get that interview. And now you have an office with a view, and wonder what the heck they were thinking.
You’re grateful, of course. But you’re also terrified that maybe you have bitten off more than you can chew. And how can you perform in this new role if you are spending your time dealing with insecurity?
Believe it or not, the office next to you and the cubicles down the hall are probably filled with frauds, too.
Most people feel the lurking shadow of imposter syndrome at some point in their careers. They believe they are inadequate and incompetent, despite evidence to the contrary.
The truth of the matter is, you’re actually right where you should be. And people who have been looking after this company for years recognized in you the qualities and potential that they want.
So how can you perform like a rockstar when you are secretly dealing with insecurity and feeling like a phony?
First, think about which of the five imposter types describe you.
- The perfectionist.
You set excessively high standards for yourself, are never satisfied, and doubt yourself when you don’t live up to your own expectations.
- The superhero.
You need external validation to prove your worth, and you’re willing to be a workaholic to get it.
- The natural genius.
“The smart one,” “the natural,” the one for whom everything (supposedly) comes easily. You judge your competency by the ease and speed of your learning and skill development.
- The soloist.
You can’t ask for help, so you feel the pressure of doing everything yourself.
- The expert.
You base your competency on how much you know and can do…which is never enough. If you could go to school forever, you probably would.
The key to dealing with insecurity at work isn’t to avoid your feelings of insecurity, but to leverage them. Recognize that they are the result of a temporary perspective and are not grounded in reality.
Here are some tips for dealing with insecurity at work so you can look like a rockstar, despite feeling like a phony.
- Recognize the truth.
Take a deep breath and a break from your feelings and get objective about your abilities. Look at all you have already accomplished. Those people you think are so awesome think you’re really awesome, too. They’re probably onto something….
- Ask questions.
When you ask for the information and help you need to do your job, you set yourself up for success. You streamline your efforts toward quality performance. And there’s nothing like a job well done to boost your confidence.
- Be curious.
Do something that scares you a little. Take on a project that makes you stretch into unfamiliar territory. You will deliver a message of ambition and eagerness to learn.
- Set achievable goals.
When you’re dealing with insecurity, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by expectations. So make a habit of setting attainable goals to feed your sense of accomplishment. Forward movement is forward movement, even with baby steps.
- Help someone else.
Sometimes you just need to get outside your own head and focus on something bigger than yourself. It’s amazing the way insecurity dissipates when you are making someone else’s life easier. Ask not what your co-workers can do for you, ask what you can do for your co-workers.
- Celebrate your achievements.
Celebrations do more than simply offer up a good time and a reprieve from work. They create memories by anchoring the object of celebration in the mind. Validating your own efforts and accomplishments will build your confidence from the inside out.
When you’re dealing with insecurity, you’re usually dealing with a feeling of isolation, as well. Everyone else here seems so confident and competent. I must be the only one who feels this way.
If you only knew how many people clock in and out with the same self-doubt! Take comfort and a sigh of relief from the great Maya Angelou’s self-assessment:
“I have written 11 books, but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out’.” –Maya Angelou
Step back and take stock of your own worth and all you bring to the table. And if that’s not enough, modify your perspective of your co-workers and competitors. They are only human, too. They all started somewhere, too. They all have issues, flaws, questions, doubts, and fears, too.
And when a new assignment makes the coffee mug shake in your hand, never underestimate the affirming power of faking it ‘til you make it.
If you are dealing with insecurity in the workplace, we can help you look like a rockstar, even when you feel like a phony. You can reach us here.