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worry at work

We should feel elated when we receive a promotion. We should grin like the Cheshire Cat when we pass that exam we were crippled with worry over. We should jump for joy when we receive high praise for something we worked so hard for, but alas, that isn’t easy for some people, especially for those with imposter syndrome.

More and more people have stepped forward and shared that they suffer from imposter syndrome, but what exactly is it?


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Imposter syndrome makes people believe that their achievements are solely down to luck. They do not believe that they deserve to succeed.

The doubt can spiral into severe feelings of fear and guilt. Many people feel that they are a fraud or a phony.

People with imposter syndrome feel like they’re wearing a mask and live in fear that one day people will soon realise that they are not worthy of praise, success and simply got lucky.

Joe Langford and Pauline Rose Clance originally believed imposter syndrome was particularly pervasive among females, however, they later discovered this not to be true.

It is believed over 70 percent of the world’s population suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.

People can feel guilty or undeserving of their achievements. Famous author Maya Angelou even suffered from it, despite the fact that she was an award-winning writer.

“I have written 11 books but each time I think 'Uh-oh, they're going to find out now’. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out,” the Pulitzer Prize winner once said.

Imposter syndrome affects everyone and anyone, from iconic female poets to young students in Dublin.

Luckily, there are ways to manage it. The main thing to remember is not to let it suffocate you.

One thing that can help is to drown out negative thoughts. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but we often underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Another thing that can help soothe your worries is to take a walk down memory lane and look back at how far you’ve come in recent years. Think of the days when you were in secondary school fretting about passing your history test and now look at yourself as a graduate with a full-time job.


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Remember you’re not the only one struggling with these feelings of doubt. There are so many people going through the same thing so don’t be afraid to open up about it, whether that’s to a colleague, a friend or even a professional.

Leaning on a loved-one and sharing your struggles can help lift that heavy weight off your chest.


In today’s job environment, stress and worry have become more or less par for the course. Being good to ourselves is difficult at the best of times, and it can be really hard to know where to draw the line with work.

In a country that’s still only recovering from an absolutely savage recession (no matter what the news may tell us), a lot of us still have the mindset that we’re extremely lucky to be working at all, and this can really influence how we think and behave far outside of the 9-5 …or the 8-8, for that matter.

This is something that really affects a lot of us, but perhaps isn't discussed a lot.

We put ourselves under an inordinate amount of pressure to do well, to impress the boss, and, of course, to make a better salary. Whilst all of this is no doubt important, all too often we forget to sit back, unwind and take stock.

Be Kind to Yourself

Nobody else is going to do it. Harsh, but true – others might help you in the right direction, but we’re all responsible for our own happiness and wellbeing.

Yoga is really helping me to feel better and keep a more positive frame of mind at the moment, as is more tea and less coffee – still caffeine, I know, but every little helps. Cooking and baking are also surprisingly relaxing, once you keep it simple!

Of course, nothing beats a good nights’ sleep. If you find it difficult to keep a routine, the Sleep Cycle App is brilliant for training yourself into a more regular bedtime habit.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Without anything nice to look forward to, weeks of work can stretch out in front of us like a grim sentence. It’s important to make nice plans, and they don’t need to cost the earth.

Can’t afford a blow-out holiday? Not to worry – why not look at gig tickets, or even a staycation somewhere closer to home? Airbnb is great for renting a getaway for a few days – once split between a few friends, it’s surprisingly affordable, and you’ll thank yourself for the break!

Perspective is Everything

Something I think about a lot is the fact that when people come to the end of their lives, they never regret not working more. In fact, many regret or at least resent it. Work is not everything. It does not define us as people – our actions do, and in order to be good to others, we need to be good to ourselves.

Deep, but definitely worth reflecting on – as are these wise words from Maya Angelou.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Deirdre Foley is a history grad, sceptic, wearer of red lipstick and self-confessed 'beauty maniac'. She is also the co-founder of fabulous Irish beauty blog, Viva Adonis