The start of a new year can cause many people to doubt themselves and the current personal or professional routes they are taking – it’s not unusual, in 2018 a study found that over 62% of adults in the UK experienced “imposter syndrome”. Imposter Syndrome is “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”

But, why do people suffer from chronic self-doubt in the workplace and what can be done to combat it?

The main reasons people experience imposter syndrome are their own self-doubt, receiving criticism, having to ask for help and comparing themselves to high achieving colleagues. There are lots of methods and tips you can use to silence your inner critic and regain your confidence though. It is important to remember though, you can’t completely get rid of self-doubt – its role is to keep you safe, but it is essential to recognise that this safety net can turn into negative messages and wreak havoc on your life.

Say stop

Negative thoughts and doubts beginning to bubble up again? It can be easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole and allow self-doubt to take over your brain, but don’t allow it to happen.

Tell yourself “Stop” or “No” if you must. Just recognise it for what it was – an unhelpful thought – and move forward.

Don’t connect it to negative past events

If you attribute self-doubt and blame to past failures it can lead to even more destructive thoughts and back down that rabbit hole you go.

When this happens, you need to take affirmative action with your goals and go easy on yourself! You’re not all those horrible things you think about yourself – it is your responsibility to remind yourself how great you are.

Do focus on past successes

Is self-doubt creeping in again? Forget about those negative events and remember positive ones. It can be simple to reach a hurdle and buckle under the weight of your internal monologue, but just think back to a time when you did combat a challenge successfully or things went well despite having doubts. It will remind you that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

Talk to someone about it

When you keep your thoughts to yourself, they can snowball turning that original snowflake of a thought into a huge distorted avalanche that doesn’t resemble reality. Just by saying your doubts out loud can help you see how exaggerated and far from reality they are, and by talking about them with a trusted friend or colleague can help you put things into perspective.

Use it to your advantage

Self-doubt can spur you to take action, keeps you humble and encourages you to have honest conversations with your peers and colleagues.

Doubting yourself occasionally makes you want to continue to better yourself, without it your skills and knowledge would stagnate. This same self-doubt reminds you that you’re only human (a human who is self-aware!).

Stop comparing yourself to your peers and colleagues

Nobody is on the same journey as you, so stop comparing where they are at in their life to where you are in yours. And don’t forget, on social media people rarely share their failures or troubles, only their successes and good times creating an imbalanced picture of what their life is really like.

The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself – look back at how much you’ve grown and challenges you’ve overcome.

It is ok to have self-doubt – you’re a continuous work in progress. Just don’t let your self-doubt and negative thoughts spiral out of control and effect you long time.