Imposter syndrome is a common experience among many professionals, including foundation doctors. It is the feeling of self-doubt and insecurity despite evidence of one’s competence and success. Here are some ways to help manage imposter syndrome:
- Recognise and Acknowledge Your Achievements: Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments and acknowledge your successes. Keep a record of your achievements and read them when you need a reminder of your skills, abilities, testimonials or positive comments others have shared about you. It might be stored on the desktop of your laptop/computer, where you have a folder dedicated to this.
- Challenge Negative Self-Talk: Be mindful of the negative self-talk that may contribute to imposter syndrome. When you hear yourself saying negative things about yourself, challenge these thoughts by considering the evidence that supports your competence.
- Talk to Others: Talk to trusted colleagues or mentors about your experiences and feelings of imposter syndrome. They may be able to provide a different perspective and help you recognise your strengths and abilities.
- Learn from Mistakes: Instead of seeing mistakes as evidence of your inadequacy, see them as opportunities for learning and growth. Reflect on your mistakes and use them to improve your skills and knowledge.
- Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Recognise that everyone makes mistakes and experiences self-doubt at times. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend.
Most people experience imposter syndrome. By recognising and acknowledging your achievements, challenging negative self-talk, talking to others, learning from mistakes, and practicing self-compassion, you can manage your imposter syndrome and build your confidence as a foundation doctor.