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The Tech Professional's Guide to Beating Impostor Syndrome in the Workplace

Cosette Jarrett
05.09.16
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Feeling completely comfortable dominating a role in your professional career is uniquely challenging in the tech field. Although your knowledge, skill, and ability have landed you in an awesome role, it can be difficult to shake the feeling that at some point, your superiors will "figure out" that you're not innovative or efficient enough to make it in tech. Even when others assure you that those who hired you know that your contribution to the company is valuable, ditching that case of impostor syndrome can seem nearly impossible at times due to the competitive nature of the tech sphere.

There's no easy way around self doubt, however, there are baby steps you can take to build your confidence and drop the fear of not measuring up to expectations. If you're having trouble shaking a serious case of impostor syndrome in your new career, check out this guide to help you realize your incredible worth as an innovative mind at your at your company.

1.Celebrate the accomplishments of your peers
In the highly competitive tech sphere, it can be difficult to feel legitimately excited about the accomplishments of your coworkers. This isn't to say that you don't want them to do well, but when they achieve higher goals, it can make you feel like you need to step up your game and do the same.
One of the largest issues surrounding impostor syndrome is our innate habit to constantly compare ourselves to one another. That's why doing your best to realize that the accomplishments of others don't make your accomplishments any less valuable. In fact, when your whole team is thriving, managers and executives will notice that they've put together a team of top performers that they don't want to lose.

2.Create a mantra for anxious moments
Another factor that contributes greatly to feeling self-doubt in a tech-centric workplace is anxiety. When thoughts creep in that maybe you aren't the right man or woman for the job, it can be difficult to feel confident in your work for the rest of the day, week, or even month!
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to sooth your mind and boost your confidence during anxious times like these. One of the best and most simple of these steps is to create a mantra.
Effective mantras for self-doubt focus heavily on positive affirmations. These are phrases that you repeat to yourself in your head to remind yourself of what you bring to the table in the workplace. For example, my mantra touches on my work ethic, my ability to learn quickly, and my innovative mind. If you need some help creating your own positive affirmations, this guide has some great tips for getting started.

3.Acknowledge your "wins" at the end of the week
After a long week at work, it can be hard to remember the small "wins" you had in the workplace. Sure, larger accomplishments are pretty easy to notice, but they likely won't happen every single week. That's why it's important to focus on every "win," even the small ones.
For example, if you made a solid connection with a coworker or manager during the week, count it as a win! If you started a project that has been in your queue for a while, count it as a win for catching up on your workload.
Being sure to notice the small achievements you make each week will help you realize your worth and ability in the challenging world of tech.
Inc.com provides an awesome guide to celebrating workplace accomplishments. I definitely recommend you check it out!

4.Maintain work-life balance
Maintaining work-life balance might seem nearly impossible as you struggle to keep up with an ever-expanding queue of site changes that need to be made, or product modifications that should be addressed sooner than later. However, it's important to remember that it's impossible to do your best work when you have no time to relax and release your stress.
Unwinding can be tough for individuals who refuse to stop until a job is done, but there are lots of ways you can ease into achieving better work-life balance that can make the process a bit more comfortable and effective. In fact, the very industry you focus on for work (tech, duh) can help you. Another Engadget article covers the details on using tech to achieve better work-life balance here.

5.Focus on your unique value
Arguably, one of the most important things you can do to beat impostor syndrome is to focus on your unique value. Sure, others may have more experience in the tech sphere or perhaps they're out-of-this-world innovators, but that doesn't have anything to do with you.
Your value will always be unique in the workplace. Your employers have identified that unique value already. That's why they hired you!
Take time to determine your unique value proposition. If you get stuck, try looking at the issue from a branding perspective. Some of the same tactics used to identify a unique value proposition for a brand can be applied to find the unique value proposition of your personal brand.

The tech industry can be a tough environment for current and aspiring pros at times. The key to success if remaining confident and hungry for innovation during the process of building upon your expertise to excel in your career. Hopefully these tips will help you shed the imposter syndrome holding you back!

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