Impostor Syndrome


  • You stay later than everyone else at work.
  • You struggle to give yourself any downtime.
  • You always seems busy.
  • You can let work take over everything.
  • You feel like you don’t deserve your job title.


The thing is you push yourself far too hard because deep down you don’t feel good enough. And you need other people to constantly tell you that you are good enough. You don’t know how to tell yourself. So you push and push and push.

This all leads to stress, anxiety, burnout and low self-esteem.

It’s more common in women than men, especially Mums. After starting a family you can feel like you just don’t measure up any more in your job. Doubts start to creep in when you’re trying to juggle work, family and social lives.

And when those doubts start to creep in, you feel like you need to try even harder at work because you perceive you aren’t good enough at your job.

But where does it come from? A lot of it comes down to your beliefs about yourself. If you believe that you aren’t good enough at your job or you don’t deserve your job – you will start to over compensate.

Where does the belief come from in the first place? A belief about yourself can be formed so quickly you probably won’t even notice it happening.

If you have a tendency to refer everything inward or take criticism as an insult rather than an opportunity to grow this can have a huge effect on what you believe about yourself.

When you start a new job at any time in your life there is going to be a learning curve. You can choose to learn and grow from that or you can choose to beat yourself up.


Imagine this for one second. You have started a new job or you have returned to your job after a short career break. You have been asked to complete a task but you’re not sure how to do it. You give it a go. And when you present it to your manager, they tell you there are several things that need changing.

You take this really badly. You panic and start to imagine being sacked for your incompetence. You worry others will find out how useless you are. You wish for the ground to swallow you up.

You feel that fear and tension in your body. Because you feel fearful, you take that as proof that something terrible has really just happened.

You tell yourself off. You are no good at your job. You’re useless. You need to be making a much better impression than this.

Then the excuses come – you can’t help it, you’re stupid and not good enough for the job.


You see, what you tell yourself becomes your reality. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. It’s your perception of the world and you believe it to be true.

So, now you have that belief that you are useless, stupid and rubbish at your job. You will start to work much harder than Jessica who sits next to you even though you have the same qualifications, experience and level of expertise.

But you push yourself more than Jessica because you have this insatiable need for other people’s approval. You need to get everything right and be given a pat on the back just to feel like you measure up.

You solely rely on other people to tell you how good you are. Because you are constantly telling yourself you’re not good enough. And when somebody offers some constructive criticism you can’t handle it. Your bucket of shit thoughts about yourself is full and somebody else adding something in there makes the bucket over-flow.

And when the bucket over-flows you start to panic.

The thing is, you have a family, a social life and other commitments too. All of which you throw yourself into with relentless self-imposed pressure.

You’re telling yourself you don’t measure up in other areas of your life too. And you are burning out.

Life isn’t meant to be this stressful. Let’s take a look at how Jessica does it differently.

Jessica is just like you. She has the same job, the same responsibilities and the same experience. She has a family, she goes to the gym 3 times a week and she volunteers at her daughters school.

Jessica gives herself positive reinforcements all the time. She loves receiving praise about her work but she doesn’t need it because she gives herself that praise on a daily basis. She is never mean to herself.

Jessica enjoys receiving constructive criticism at work because she sees it as an opportunity to learn. She does not take offence when offered a different way of working.

Jessica reminds herself of how hard she has tried to get to where she is today and feels proud of all the effort she has put in along the way.

You and Jessica are very similar. Except she knows how to cut herself some slack and you don’t.


Naomi Buffery is a Social Anxiety coach. After living most of my with social anxiety and assuming it was a part of my personality, I dedicate my life now to helping others find the way out like I did.

If you are living with Social Anxiety and it’s having a big impact on your life, join my FREE training starting on 13th January 2020