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Turning Fear into Excitement: Embracing Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Jun 19

This weekly twork* is part of our series to make work better together - get it direct to your inbox.

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Do you ever feel like you’re just waiting for someone to call you out? Like you’re not really supposed to be in your job, and at any moment, someone will expose you as a fraud? It could be today, it could be tomorrow, but you just know it will happen at some point and time. 


This is imposter syndrome, a common experience where people feel like they don't deserve their achievements, or are incompetent.


You might find yourself thinking "Why am I doing this? I'm not able for it.” I've bitten off more than I can chew." “There’s no way I will be able to complete this project”.


It’s much more common than you think and the chances are, we’ve all experienced - in fact “as many as 82% of all people have felt like a fraud at some point — even Albert Einstein”.


What’s behind those feelings?


Interestingly, the physiological effects of fear and excitement in our bodies are very similar. It’s our mind that labels these feelings differently. When faced with a threat or opportunity, our bodies react with increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and butterflies in the stomach—signs that can be interpreted as either fear or excitement. It’s the brain that lead us to identify it as fear or excitement.


Imagine it’s your first day in a new job, here’s how you mind may respond to the situation


Fear: On your first day at your new job, you feel anxious, with a rapid heartbeat and nervous energy. You worry, “What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t fit in?”


Excitement: Those same sensations can be reframed as, “This is a fresh start! I’m excited to learn new things and meet new people. This is a great opportunity to grow.”



Shifting Your ‘Imposter’ Mindset


We’ve all likely felt like an imposter in our lives at one point, but what if it doesn't have to be that way? What if we learn to reframe our thoughts and feelings when they arise?

 

Rather than having feelings of inadequacy and the fear of being caught out in our role, we learn to turn them into feelings of excitement and opportunity.

  

You are in your position because someone believed in you, and at some point, you believed in yourself too. That sense of being overwhelmed can be flipped into anticipation and readiness for the role ahead.

 

Of course along the way, you will hit bumps on the road, not because you’re incapable, but because you’re growing. You’re learning and to learn, you must fail from time to time. Don’t believe us? Just check out this graduation speech from the fantastic Roger Federer!


This Week's Twork: Embrace Your Imposter Syndrome


Let’s turn this into a practical, actionable ‘tweak’ for the week. Embrace imposter syndrome. 


Yes, even as I write this, I feel a twinge of anxiety. But that’s exactly the point. By embracing the feeling of imposter syndrome, we acknowledge that it’s a sign we’re stepping out of our comfort zones.


It means we’re challenging ourselves, which is essential for growth and progress. 


Tackling Imposter Syndrome, one feeling at a time


  1. Reframe Your Thoughts: When you start feeling like a fraud, remind yourself that these feelings are a natural part of growth. Convert the fear into excitement about the new challenges and opportunities ahead.

  2. Build an Evidence Bank: Reflect on past successes. Identify moments where you thought you couldn't do something but succeeded anyway. Write these down. What skills and strengths helped you overcome those challenges? What challenges have you overcome to get to where you are now? Use these reflections as evidence against the imposter syndrome narrative.

  3. Self-Reflect with Strengths: If you’ve done strengths assessments before, revisit them. Identify which strengths helped you in challenging situations. If you haven’t, consider doing one similar to ours to help you understand your innate capabilities better. 


We’re In This Together


Imposter syndrome is widespread. Many of us, even those who seem confident and successful, struggle with it. By acknowledging and embracing it, we can turn it into a driving force for growth rather than a barrier to success.


Please note: This post discusses imposter syndrome as it is commonly experienced. If you find that these feelings are severely impacting your ability to function or are experiencing more serious symptoms, it is important to seek additional support from a mental health professional. They can provide the necessary assistance to help you navigate these challenges.


Let’s make work better together by supporting each other through these feelings, turning our collective fear into collective excitement. Embrace imposter syndrome, and let it be a sign that you’re exactly where you need to be, growing and learning every day.







Let’s make work better together.​​


Michelle Wallace

Founder

A Better Work


At A Better Work we work with our clients to make work better and more fulfilling. It's not about happiness, it's about feeling a sense of accomplishment, and building teams that work brilliantly together in good times and bad.


If you want to elevate your team's performance while creating a more engaged work environment. Check out our new ‘Strengths-Based Teams Development Programme’ which gives you the tools and strategies to unlock your team's true potential.

 

To join the Make Work Better Movement, sign up below to get a weekly tweak like this direct to your inbox.

Let’s make work better together.


 

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