Imposter syndrome cartoon of a woman with a mask with a question mark on it juggling other masks.
Image: © enjoys25/

5 things to do to work on your imposter syndrome this year

30 Jan 2023

We all feel imposter syndrome at certain times in our careers, but the good thing is these feelings are normal and can be overcome.

There are several different types of imposter syndrome. Sometimes it’s severe, but mostly it is a passing feeling.

But just because it’s not permanent doesn’t mean it’s not unpleasant.

Here are some things we can all do to help us deal with times when we do experience it.


The terrible thing about imposter syndrome is that it’s so commonplace, yet so rarely discussed.

It is seen as a sign of weakness by some people, but that’s a sure sign they are suppressing their own memories of feeling like a fraud at work. It is very rare for someone to have never felt overwhelmed on the job, particularly when they’re starting out.

When people use language like “admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome” it only underlines the taboo nature of the subject.

To help others experiencing the feeling, it’s beneficial for people to ditch the bravado and be honest about times when they struggled.

We can all help each other and sometimes people need to hear stories about how other people – particularly leaders – dealt with challenges like imposter syndrome.

Plus, talking about the issue to colleagues helps them make sense of what they’re going through.

Embrace and learn from failure

Imposter syndrome is linked to success because so many successful people experience it, but it is also linked to failure.

Past mistakes often lead people to think they are failures when they’re not – everyone makes mistakes.

The irony of it is that people who have imposter syndrome often work twice as hard as their more relaxed, confident colleagues in order to feel they are succeeding.

It’s important for your own wellbeing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you will make mistakes from time to time.

Just as long as you learn from your mistakes and failures you’ll be fine.

Consult a professional

Burning yourself out at work to feel like you’re succeeding is not good for anybody, but most of all you.

If you feel like you’re drowning in your own negativity and it’s affecting your quality of life maybe it is time to seek professional advice.

Speak to a careers coach or a counsellor who will help you make sense of what you’re feeling. They can provide support and help you put a plan in place to tackle whatever is bothering you.

Do something nice for yourself

Imposter syndrome is not a permanent feeling and it can be dealt with. Sometimes, you may be feeling momentarily overwhelmed by a big project or a difficult colleague.

It’s easier said than done, but the less you let your imposter syndrome invade your personal life the better.

Don’t take your work worries home. Instead, use your time off to do things you enjoy. It will help you gain some perspective on things.

Say ‘yes’ to a challenge

Has it ever occurred to you that imposter syndrome might be a good thing? A little bit of it, that is.

People who are familiar with feelings of imposter syndrome are often very conscientious and good leaders with high emotional intelligence.

With that in mind, here’s some gentle encouragement to take on that project you’ve been meaning to take on or apply for that promotion.

Talking of promotions, here is some advice for how to deal with imposter syndrome after a promotion.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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