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MeditationImposter Syndrome at Work

Imposter Syndrome at Work

Wanting to do our best at work is natural — but self-doubt can make us push ourselves to be perfect, causing stress. Learn about healthier ways to cope.

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Hi, and welcome to an introspection of imposter syndrome at work. Imposter syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that affects so many of us and is prevalent at work. This is an internalized fear of being a fraud, feeling inadequate, having self-doubt about your success or expertise despite evidence of the contrary, and also perfectionism, which is about being perfect and looking perfect all the time. Seeking to be at your best and do your best is fine, but pushing yourself to be perfect can be stress-inducing. Perhaps you're struggling with this, imposter syndrome. Here are some symptoms you may be having when it comes to work: feeling constantly stressed, anxious, or depressed; feeling uncomfortable with receiving congrats or praises for your work, feeling undeserving of any success, feeling othered or socially awkward among colleagues, because you don't feel a sense of belonging. Take a minute to ponder on what you may be experiencing. It's important to be introspective here, to know what you're feeling and thinking, to navigate imposter syndrome at work, to be your best self. One important thing to note, there isn't necessarily an exact cause of imposter syndrome. However, things like personality and work environments and leadership can contribute. For instance, certain fields are known to be competitive, and perhaps that's the field you're in. Now, how do you deal with imposter syndrome? There's no one specific way, since it's not linear. However, getting introspective through the practice of mindfulness and self-affirmations can help you better accept your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, even if they're negative. What you're feeling or experiencing is what you're feeling or experiencing. Validate imposter syndrome first to navigate it at work so you're healthier and happier. Let's get introspective and grounded now for strong self-awareness. Take a moment to get settled in a comfortable spot, even at your work desk if that works for you. Close your eyes. Let's begin by practicing square breathing, which takes less than 60 seconds for one round. Repeat four times after me. Take a deep breath, inhale in, and count to four in your head. Hold your breath for four counts. And exhale through your nose and mouth for four. Again, inhale, count to four. Hold your breath for four. And exhale for four. Inhale, count to four. Hold breath, count to four. Exhale for four. Last time. Inhale. Hold breath. Exhale. Now let's focus on an active mindfulness practice called COAL, a model by Dr. Dan Siegel. COAL can be effective in workplace scenarios to help navigate imposter syndrome. As any mindfulness tool, it's good to practice consistently to handle the negative cognitions that tend to come your way when imposter syndrome kicks in. COAL. C is for curiosity. Start by being curious about what you may notice about yourself. For instance, you're embarrassed when a colleague tells you how well of a job you're doing, or perhaps you find yourself questioning whether the colleague is being sincere. Ask yourself, why am I embarrassed when someone's...


Duration8 min

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  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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