Hi, I’m Kimberly Castelin, PhD. I’m an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As I read posts on Imposter Syndrome by Sara Vaca, Maira Rosas-Lee, and John LaVelle, I empathized with these authors. My Imposter Syndrome intensified when I started this new position earlier this year. I want to share how I’ve quieted negative thoughts to be more confident in my workplace. If you are like 70% of professionals who experience Imposter Syndrome, you can benefit from these techniques too!
- Identify and Own Your Imposter Syndrome
My Imposter Syndrome persists despite my accomplishments. I earned a PhD, complete evaluations of complex projects, deliver conference presentations, and launched an online evaluation course, successfully. When I was accepted into the ORISE Fellowship Program, I confided to my close friend that I feared my new mentor would discover that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to be an evaluator in this organization.
“You need to learn how to shut up that hater in your head!”.
2. Have Courage to Be Vulnerable and Seek Resources
Knowing that Imposter Syndrome is real gave me courage to approach my new mentor withtruth and vulnerability.My mentor and I adapted tried and true strategies when the ‘hater in my head’ distracts me. The work to quiet my hater is already paying dividends! I’m better rested, less anxious, and more comfortable asking for help when I need it.
3. Reframe Fear-based Responses in the Workplace
For me, reframing fear-based responses has been the most useful strategy. When ‘the hater’ shows up as a fear-based response to a situation, I reframe the situation to focus on positive perspectives. For example, “Others will think I am dumb because this is imperfect” becomes “I get to learn from others’ input and improve the end product”. As a result of this reframe, I seek input from colleagues earlier. The act of reframing experiences helped me to understand and internalize that judgements of my work are not judgements of my worth.
Here are other reactions, responses, and habits that I continue to practice:
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Hot Tips : Inthis article, Melody Wilding identifies five types of Imposter Syndrome and strategies to conquer each one.
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