As more of us find ourselves in a ‘climate job’ or within the growing climate tech industry, many find that we’ve been thrown into exciting but unfamiliar territory. The newness of the field, combined with the urgent need for innovative solutions to combat climate change, can lead to feelings of self-doubt or ‘imposter syndrome’.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a colloquial term used to describe the internal psychological experience where you feel like a fake in an area of your life, despite any success that you have achieved in that field. This is something that anyone can experience, regardless of gender or background.
The term itself can be controversial and it’s important to know that having feelings of self-doubt does not mean that there’s something wrong, in fact it’s a very common (although unpleasant) human experience.
Breaking New Ground
Some experts suggest that if you’re breaking new ground then you may be more likely to experience self-doubt. This could include if you’re a woman in a position that has historically been held by men. Or if you’re the first person from your family to get a university degree and start a professional career.
Many climate jobs are breaking new ground. We are often creating jobs that haven’t existed before, sometimes in a new and evolving industry, such as climate tech. Sometimes, there are also new business models or technologies being used.
When we think about it in this way, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel a sense of self-doubt! Our bodies and minds are trying to keep us safe as they navigate a new and evolving space. Even seasoned professionals can feel like they're starting from scratch. It's important to know that it's perfectly normal to feel out of your depth.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
If you're feeling self-doubt, the first step is to acknowledge these feelings. Understand that it's okay to feel this way and that it doesn't reflect your actual abilities or potential. In fact, it's often a sign that you're pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and striving for growth.
One method to ease self-doubt or feelings of imposterdom is to collect evidence that demonstrates your strengths, successes and achievements. You can do this by forming a list in a document and then adding to it on a daily or weekly basis. You could also take screenshots of messages or emails from colleagues that show how they recognise your skills and knowledge.
When you’re feeling a wave of self-doubt, think about or read this list as a reminder of how you’ve demonstrated your experience and achieved success in the past.
Find a Supportive Community
Having a supportive community can make navigating self-doubt easier. You may be able to do this within your workplace or with friends. You could also join online communities, forums, or professional networks where you can connect with others who are in the same boat. Sharing your experiences with people you trust and hearing from others who have felt the same way can be incredibly reassuring.
Of course, if imposter syndrome is significantly impacting your health or relationships, seek support from a professional.
Feeling self-doubt or like an imposter in a professional setting is a common experience and very normal, especially if you’re in an evolving job or industry. However, by acknowledging these feelings, collecting evidence to remind you of your strengths and finding a supportive community, you can navigate these feelings and find your footing as you stretch beyond your comfort zone.
Interested in how to get a climate job? Find out more here.
Check out our climate jobs board here.
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