We are continuously focusing on improving the wellbeing of our employees, both mentally and physically. We are looking to make a positive change through the way we talk and act about mental health, which is why we invited Gavin Elliott along to the office to give an insightful talk on Imposter Syndrome.
For those of you that may not know, Imposter Syndrome is the persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud or being found out. It’s estimated that 70% of the population experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lifetime, with more and more young people suffering. Within the tech industry, there are notably more individuals that are suffering with mental health problems, making this a key issue for us to focus on as we work to improve the wellbeing of our employees.
This little-known yet common issue can rear its head in many ways. You might have difficulty accepting praise, overwork yourself, or you may discount the work you’ve been doing. It could be that you feel you’re not good enough and have low confidence, leading to a constant feeling that you must do better and be the best.
In my case, my imposter is telling me that everyone else is continuously achieving and doing well in life, while I myself am continuously failing or being left behind. It tells me I’m no good at anything I do, and I never will be, making me feel like I will never be enough. Everyone’s imposter may show itself in different ways, but with almost two thirds of the population suffering, it’s time we spoke more openly about our own experience with Imposter Syndrome.
Gavin went into depth and detail about his personal experiences, the different ways in which this syndrome can affect you and how to get onto the pathway to your happiness. The main focal point of how to improve and get onto that pathway was to talk about the issue at hand and seek out help; resulting in minimisation or potentially elimination of your imposter. Some may be sceptical when reading this, however Gavin is a walking example of how this approach has worked in banishing his imposter – which is exactly why he is going around and sharing his knowledge, because he wants to help you get rid of yours.
I appreciate that it certainly isn’t easy to talk about. Whether it’s to a friend, colleague or a professional, talking about things, for example through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is one of the best forms of therapy around for people that are suffering. Whilst CBT is typically used to treat anxiety and depression, it is also useful for other mental health problems too. It works by equipping you with the necessary tools to deal with the various curveballs life may throw at you, by breaking them down into smaller parts. It teaches techniques that allow you to change negative thought patterns into positive ones, improving your state of mind over time.
Luckily for me, my workplace has partnered with CareFirst to provide 24-hour cognitive support for everyone here, offering anonymous and paid for telephone counselling or face-to-face meetings. We are incredibly fortunate to have this service on hand, but I appreciate that not all companies provide this for their employees. However, if you’ve read this post and it has resonated with you, then please try talking to someone – it helps to generate a support network. You are better than what the imposter is telling you, so take your first step to a healthier you. These days there are so many options for mental health help and support services available, that you should be sure to find something that will help you overcome your unwanted guest! You can find out more by visiting CareFirst, Mind, Geek Mental Help or simply Google which services are available in your area.