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How can I beat imposter syndrome as a Newly Qualified Social Worker?

It's a question I am asked repeatedly.

How do I stop imposter syndrome?

We are bombarded with the phrase 'imposter syndrome' so much that I often find it becomes meaningless; just an answer with no context.

I'm not dismissing your feelings of anxiety and self doubt. I just want to invite you to unpick them and dig a little deeper.

  1. Open your journal- this shouldn't be new information to you, but often through writing things down you can get clear on what is really happening for you.

2. Use a calendar - not exactly ground breaking, but let me explain. In social work we use chronologies to look at patterns of systems and behaviour. If you start tracking feelings of self doubt then you will probably see a pattern. It might connect to the day of the week, the time of day, the type of tasks you complete each day, or maybe even something happening in your personal life. You can't change it until you understand it.

3. Get clear on why. This is like doing your own self assessment. Look at your journal, analyse your 'imposter syndrome chronology' and start to assess. What are your strengths? What are your needs? What do you need to meet your needs?

Here's what I experienced as a new social worker.

I felt 'imposter syndrome' when I chaired meetings.

I felt too young to be 'in charge' of leading a meeting and had feelings of being 'not good enough'.

This meant that I wasn't confident in changing the direction of conversation and often my meetings would over run. The loudest and most abrasive professionals took over and overall, the meetings were unproductive.

I felt 'imposter syndrome' on the days when I had meetings. I knew this was a problem. So I started writing scripts.

I started practicing my introductions in meetings. I started to anticipate problems and I reframed them into meeting boundaries.

If I'd have stopped at 'I have imposter syndrome' I wouldn't have developed my skills.

Once you've done your self assessment - share it.

That's what The Collective is for. I won't let you stop at 'imposter syndrome', I'll be by your side helping you with whatever is coming up for you and working through practice skills, scripts, theory and research to support your practice and build your confidence.

The Collective is a monthly membership for Newly Qualified Social Workers and student social workers. With a library of video resources, a new masterclass and meditation recording each month plus LIVE Q&A sessions, this is everything you need to get through your first year as a social worker without burnout, learning skills to last a lifetime.

(No minimum term of membership - cancel if you need to).



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