Career Advice

How can I tackle imposter syndrome in a new industry?

Identifying imposter syndrome might be straightforward, but tackling it is often easier said than done. In this six-step guide, we're exploring tactics to help you pave the way for a more seamless shift into a new career path.

Six steps to navigating imposter syndrome in your new field

Understanding imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome, in the context of the workplace, is an experience whereby an individual is doubtful and critical of their own skills and abilities, often feeling like a fraud, despite objective evidence to suggest otherwise. This experience spans industries, affecting 70% of people at some point in their lives. It is particularly prevalent among people venturing into new fields, where unfamiliarity can breed anxiety and self-doubt. While it’s easy to recognise, overcoming it can be a real challenge. 

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of their success level or industry. Here we’ll explore practical strategies to help set you up for a smoother transition onto your new career path.

1. Open conversations
One of the most effective ways to combat imposter syndrome is by having open conversations about it. Talking to people you trust about how you feel in the workplace can help give you perspective and hopefully dissipate some of the stress you’re feeling. More often than not, you’ll find that you’re not alone in feeling like an imposter, and this may bring you some comfort.

2. Embrace positive feedback
When you’re struggling to navigate imposter syndrome, it's easy to spiral into negativity, especially when faced with criticism. It’s important to shift focus and avoid overlooking positive feedback. Negative assumptions about your own abilities are often unfounded and can be combated with evidence of your competence. Make it a habit to acknowledge positive feedback, as it can significantly help in rewiring your brain away from negativity.

3. Evidence-based self-assessment
One of the most reliable strategies to counter imposter syndrome is through evidence-based self-assessment. Compile and review a list of your achievements, no matter how small they may seem to you. This practice serves as a factual reminder of your capabilities and accomplishments, helping to silence your inner critic.

4. Leverage mentorship
Mentorship can be a powerful tool in overcoming imposter syndrome. Whether it's a formal scheme within your workplace or an informal relationship through community forums, mentors can provide objective feedback on your work and help you navigate your new environment. They offer a unique perspective, having likely experienced similar feelings themselves at some point in their careers.

5. Set realistic expectations
Adjusting your expectations is key to managing imposter syndrome. Perfection is an unrealistic goal; instead, focus on growth. Understand that making mistakes and facing challenges are integral parts of the learning process. By embracing these experiences as opportunities for improvement, you can start to silence thoughts of inadequacy.

6. Celebrate small wins
In the journey to overcome imposter syndrome, it's important not to overlook your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating small wins is a powerful way to reinforce your sense of competence. Recognising and celebrating each step forward, no matter how small, can boost your confidence and remind you of your progress.

Wrapping up
Navigating imposter syndrome in a new field is challenging, but it's far from impossible. By engaging in open conversations, embracing positive feedback, relying on evidence, seeking mentorship, setting realistic expectations, and celebrating small wins, you can significantly minimise the power of self-doubt. Remember, you're not alone. With the right strategies and mindset, you can not only overcome imposter syndrome but also thrive in your new field, turning what once felt like daunting challenges into stepping stones for growth and success.

Unlock your full potential and step into your new career by partnering with our career experts. At Learning People, we're dedicated to ensuring you're not just ready, but prepared to excel in your new industry. From your studies to your job search, let us guide you to discover and refine the essential skillset needed to thrive in your chosen path. Take the leap with us and we’ll work together to ensure you feel comfortable and confident in your abilities.

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