Lisa Harding

3 Strategies on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome When Transitioning Careers

Career transitioning can be a challenging and often anxiety-inducing process, especially for teachers who may have spent many years in the same field. One of the biggest challenges that many teachers face when transitioning to a new career is impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome is the feeling of self doubt, anxiety, and inadequacy despite evidence of success and competence. It can be overwhelming and make teachers feel like they don't belong in their new career. 

The good news is that impostor syndrome is a common feeling that many people experience when starting something new. Here are three strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome when transitioning careers. 

1. Challenge Your Thoughts 

One of the first things you can do to overcome impostor syndrome is to challenge your thoughts. Many people, including career transitioning teachers, have what's called “black or white thinking”, which is a type of all-or-nothing thinking. When faced with a setback or challenge, people with black or white thinking tend to see things in extremes. For example, if they make a mistake, they might think, "I'm a total failure" or "I'll never be able to do this." 
While you’re making your career transition, if find yourself engaging in black or white thinking, it's important to challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself what evidence you have to support those extreme beliefs. Are there other possible explanations for what happened? How would you respond if a friend or loved one shared those thoughts with you? By challenging your thoughts, you can begin to see things in a more balanced and realistic way. Remember, you have the skills and knowledge necessary to make a successful career transition, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.  

2. Create a Brag File 

Another strategy for overcoming impostor syndrome is to create a brag file. A brag file is a collection of positive feedback, accomplishments, and other evidence of your success and competence. It can be a physical folder or an online document, like a Google Doc or Dropbox folder.  
Whenever you receive positive feedback or accomplish something you're proud of, add it to your brag file. This can include emails from colleagues, thank-you notes from students, awards, and certificates of recognition. When you're feeling down or doubting your abilities, take some time to review your brag file. Seeing evidence of your success and competence can help counteract feelings of impostor syndrome. 

3. Connect with Others 

Finally, it's important to connect with other teachers who have gone through similar career transitions. This could be a support group, a mentor, or a community of people who share your interests. By connecting with other career transitioning teachers, you can gain valuable insights, advice, and support as you navigate your new career. If you haven’t yet, join LearnWorld’s Facebook Group, Teacher Career Transitions (LearnWorld).

Networking is also a key part of transitioning careers. Reach out to people in your new field and ask if they'd be willing to meet for coffee or chat over the phone. Attend events or conferences related to your new career and introduce yourself to others. Building a network of contacts can help you learn more about your new field, discover new opportunities, and gain valuable advice and support. 

In conclusion, transitioning careers can be a challenging but rewarding experience for teachers. By using these strategies to overcome impostor syndrome, you can build the confidence and resilience you need to succeed in your new career. Remember that you are capable and deserving of success, and don't be afraid to reach out for help and support along the way. 

About This Post: 

This blog post is based on information shared within the Teacher Career Transition Academy. To learn more about this particular topic, refer to the video title “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome as a Career Changer” located within the Teacher Career Transition Academy. 
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