Imposter Syndrome - What is it and how do we overcome it? By Fariah Naaz (Digital Marketing Coach)

There's a new virus going around WhiteHat and no, it isn’t coronavirus! Lots of you may be familiar with the term Imposter Syndrome, or maybe you’ve experienced it but just aren’t aware that there is actually a name for how you’ve been feeling. So what exactly is it? 

Google defines it as ‘the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills’, which translates to the self belief that you don’t deserve your success, or that it was down to luck and can’t be reproduced. 

For you as an apprentice, what could this look like?

  • Not wanting to speak out at a meeting as you don’t feel like your ideas are valid
  • Feeling inferior to your colleagues and not as smart as them
  • Doubting yourself and your decisions
  • Feeling like you got your apprenticeship out of luck 
  • Not doing a task because you think it is out of your skillset
  • Feeling like your work isn’t quite good enough 

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that around 70% of people have experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their life. As an apprentice, possibly in your first job, it’s very common but can be overcome. 


How to overcome Imposter Syndrome

Realise how special and talented you are. The mere fact you have made it onto a WhiteHat apprenticeship means you are pretty awesome. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the statistics. Out of the thousands of young people who apply for an apprenticeship with us, only 6% make it onto the Kick Off day, and of that number, only 30% successfully gain an apprenticeship with us. It’s extremely competitive, our employers only want the best...which is why we have chosen you!

1. Keep a ‘wins’ file

Save your accomplishments: emails from satisfied customers, feedback on great work you’ve done, comments from your management, pieces of work you are really proud of. When you need a boost, have a read through it to remind yourself of the great work you have achieved. PRO TIP - You can use some of your wins in your portfolio material. 

2. Learn to accept compliments

When someone compliments you, learn to say thank you and accept the compliment rather than offering excuses as to why you did well. Own your wins!

3. Talk about it with other people

Talking about imposter syndrome with others can help you see that you are not alone, many others are experiencing it too!

4. Be nice to yourself!

Watch how you talk to yourself. If you find yourself talking down to yourself often, filling yourself with doubt - stop it. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend, or a 10 year old version of yourself. ‘I can do this’, ‘I am amazing’, ‘I deserve to be here’, the more you say these things, the more you will believe it! 

5. Ask your manager for feedback

At your 1:1s with your manager or other colleagues, ask for feedback on any tasks which you have worked on. Sometimes it’s hard to judge how well you have done, particularly if you don’t know the benchmark you are working towards or it’s something you have never done before. As an apprentice, no one expects you to be perfect and know everything, but you are expected to develop your skills - in fact, you need to be able to demonstrate this in your EPA portfolio in order to pass your apprenticeship. 

Imposter Syndrome is something that people of all levels experience, from CEO’s of major companies to apprentices who are new to the job. It is however, something you can overcome! 

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