New survey data reveals that although the majority of UK workers are confident at work, they still get the wobbles sometimes. The survey from music licensing company PPL PRS found 49% UK workers suffer from low confidence during performance reviews, even though 71% of those respondents feel confident other times.

Wellness and leadership coach Deborah (Debbie) Green shares her thoughts on imposter syndrome and how to overcome it.

What is the impact of imposter syndrome?

The impact of imposter syndrome changes from person to person, but those who have imposter syndrome tend to exhibit these behaviours:

  1. You believe you’ve fooled others into thinking you’re more skilled or capable than you are.
  2. You credit your success to external factors outside of your own abilities, such as luck.
  3. New tasks trigger feelings of anxiety and doubt, which you respond to with intense over-preparation, and relief when the task is done.

This cycle of behaviours can also lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result of imposter syndrome, and make a person feel burned out at work.

What scenarios may affect you at work?

Although imposter syndrome can be a factor in low confidence at work, music licensing company PPL PRS found that almost half (46%) of respondents found that performance reviews are the main stress point when employees feel that they need a confidence boost.

Other scenarios people found left them with feelings of low confidence were beginning new projects (39%), client meetings (31%) and internal meetings (29%). These are all scenarios where a person needs to demonstrate their knowledge in the field.

How to overcome imposter syndrome?

When it comes to imposter syndrome, it’s not something you get rid of with just a positive attitude; it’s a process. But there are steps you can take to redirect those feelings and boost your confidence in your work.

Step 1: Slow down

“Just breathe. Take a big deep breath, and plan. Give yourself time to do your planning and prep beforehand. Make sure you understand your role in the event or discussion, what you give and what you gain, and remind yourself that you’ve been invited to sit around the table because of who you are, not in spite of it. You’re there for a reason, and the role is yours to own.”

Step 2: Remember why you’re there

“As part of your preparation, include an affirmation of your skillset; a run-through of your skills and talents, and recognise that you have value to bring to the table. Remind yourself again that you’ve been invited to the table because you’re the expert in your field, to give yourself the confidence and self-belief that you’re there because you and your skills are wanted and needed.”

Step 3: Listen to music

“Music is a great tool for helping workplace anxieties, and I have used music in my coaching. I often have music just playing in the background because it relaxes my clients even though people are not aware of it, and once I understand the client’s preferences I might suggest to them, ‘have you considered using music as a way of calming you down?’. I’ve also encouraged them to use music as a way of visualising what they want their life to be about, and find a soundtrack that would sum up what they’re hoping for.”

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.