Self-doubt: the mental troublemaker that surfaces throughout our career. Every time we think we understand it, it changes its form and strikes at the worst times. An estimated 70% of people experience feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy at some point, according to a review article in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. Commonly known as Imposter Syndrome, this phenomenon generally happens when starting a new job or a new role within a company. 

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on the subject, “Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments.” A person consumed by imposter syndrome feels like a fraud because deep down they fear their ruse will be discovered, and everyone will know that they are not right for the job. 

If this sounds familiar, tell yourself to “Stop!” right now. There are many well-written pieces on the subject that describe the condition, the cause, and remedies. Today, we will address three strategies to help you manage this syndrome during the critical first 90 days on the job or in the new role.  
 Don’t view your fear as a detriment; instead, frame it as a sign that you care.

Fear can be both debilitating and motivating. When starting a new position, it is normal to feel anxious, worrying whether you’re well-suited for the role, capable of handling the responsibilities, or able to gel with your new colleagues. It is healthy to have these concerns, just know that your new colleagues are equally nervous. Change creates stress because there isn’t a roadmap. 

When doubts strike, take it as a sign that you need to turn your fear into action. Keep a journal during your first few weeks on the job to jot down your fears. Getting your doubts on to paper allows you to acknowledge the feeling and get it out of your way. Note your imposter syndrome as you create your P.L.A.N.S. (Prepare, Listen, Activate, Needs Analysis and Strategy). 

Recognize that you cannot control other people’s perceptions, only your response. 

At some point in your career, you probably were told that perception is reality. Although there may be some truth in this, managing other people’s perceptions is overwhelming, especially when you’re new. Doing so distracts you from fulfilling your purpose and the reason you were hired. Instead, create a system that helps you stay aware and provides you with insights. 

Your best bet is to ask questions and track who you frequently interact with. Keeping a log will help you identify patterns faster, specifically a person’s verbal and non-verbal signals. You can use a spreadsheet or an online note-taking application.

As you log others’ reactions, also note your own. You may not manage people’s perceptions, but you can work on how you react. By observing your own behavior right from the start, you’ll be able to identify patterns about yourself—good and bad.

After a year’s time, if there’s an opportunity to take part in a 360-degree review, do it! As humbling as an exercise like this can be, it can also help you highlight gaps in your own self-perceptions.

Don’t label yourself as an “imposter” for feeling unsure.

According to a Time magazine article, imposter syndrome strikes many personalities, particularly high achievers or those that view themselves as subject matter experts. For those individuals, the internal chatter can be particularly harsh. 

This is another good reason to keep a journal. As you jot down your fears, record the negative statements too. Every day review these fears and statements. Think about what may be behind these thoughts and focus on changing the conversation in your head. For every negative thought, counter it with a positive one.  

Track your daily wins, regardless how big or small they are. This enables you to end your day and week on a high note. Focusing on getting wins on the board and tracking them helps subdue feelings of anxiety. 

Finally, accept that you are in a perpetual state of uncertainty right now. Regardless of your position, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Remind yourself that this period lasts as long as it lasts. If the anxiety and stress that comes with change leaves you feeling paralyzed, focus on the next step you can take. Whether it is starting a project or answering an email, focusing on the next step forces you to stay in the present moment. This state of mental focus has a calming effect and keeps you productive. 

SOURCE: Talent Activators