A 2022 publication by the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that up to 82% of Americans experience feelings of being an imposter in the workplace. What is known as the imposter syndrome is described as feelings of inadequacy and anxiety within the workplace.
This phenomenon has seen more media attention in the last couple of years as more Americans began working remotely. Life insurance agents are not immune to feelings of inadequacy, and without dealing with these feelings individuals can take fewer career risks and experience career burnout and a decrease in their mental health.
The well-being of our agents and corporate staff is paramount to the success of Symmetry Financial Group as an organization. Taking healthy approaches to improve one’s mental health has always been a focus of our mission statement.
Here we will discuss what imposter syndrome is, where it comes from and five ways to handle it.
Imposter syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is characterized by feelings of inadequacy and perceptions of being a fraud within the workplace. It’s typically experienced by high-achieving individuals who struggle with the idea that they have not earned what they have achieved in their careers. Beyond that, individuals experiencing imposter syndrome commonly feel like they will not succeed as professionals.
While there is no clinical diagnosis for imposter syndrome, it is a phenomenon that has been studied since the 1980s .
It’s important to remember that while individuals can battle personal feelings of inadequacy, systematic conditions that promote competition can result in team members developing imposter syndrome. That’s why every organization needs to cultivate positive work cultures that support the well-being of every team member.
As an insurance agent, it’s important to highlight all your personal wins. If you made a good connection with a client, found a best-fit policy or simply had a week with fewer hurdles, these are all versions of success that you can focus on.
It’s easy to zero in on past failures and conclude that they represent yourself and your career, but it’s simply not true. It’s only human to let failures define your attitude, but by keeping track of your gratitude you can train yourself to notice those small wins that add up to larger successes.
Consider keeping track of daily wins in a planner or note app. Even if it’s just getting through the day with a positive attitude, tracking wins is critical to fighting off feelings of inadequacy in the workplace.
Having said that, it’s not enough to disregard work failures. They’re one of the most effective tools you can use to better yourself in your career as a life insurance agent. Instead, reframe your failures as learning experiences. Take what didn’t work for you in the past and learn how you could have done things differently.
A good way of doing that is by both noticing failures and analyzing them. By dismantling a failure, it’s easier to understand what didn’t work and how to avoid those scenarios in the future. For a life insurance agent, that might mean using prospects that didn’t convert – where did the objections show up and how can you pivot against them more effectively?
In the life insurance industry, comparing yourself to others is an easy pitfall to find yourself in. With leaderboards, competitions and commission-based bonuses, it’s easy to see another agent’s success as your personal failure.
Instead of comparing yourself, remember that you have your own wins that you can celebrate and reflect on. Lift up your fellow agents but realize that their path and yours is paved with a different set of wins. Everyone’s success looks different from one agent to the next, so the more you can differentiate what yours looks like, the easier it will be to avoid framing someone else’s win as a personal failure.
Manifestation is a powerful tool. When your progress feels slow and your eventual goals are far away, it’s a good idea to visualize what those goals look like. What does it look like to have a better year than last? What does this new version of you feel and look like? What is their overall attitude?
By visualizing your goals, and where you are after completing them, you can focus on the path that will get you there. This will help with burnout, and a general feeling of imposter syndrome. Remember that nothing worth having is ever easy, and the goals you’re hoping to achieve should take time. Manifest that success by visualizing what it looks like to have completed each goal.
When it comes to grappling with any facet of your mental health, nothing is more valuable than speaking with a professional. Therapy and counseling can make all the difference in dealing with anxiety, depression or feelings of inadequacy in the workplace. It’s easy to resent these feelings and worry about verbalizing them, but often the opposite approach is more successful.
Find a professional whose role is to listen and respond to your workplace worries. Unloading these insecurities can ultimately help you dismantle them and move on to a healthier mental state.
When it comes to promoting positive work cultures, we at Symmetry give our agents and corporate staff every opportunity to work on themselves both professionally and personally. One example of that, supported by our parent company, Quility, is The Ripple Model. This initiative is supported by three pillars that enrich our team members' lives and empower them to make an impact in communities across the nation.
Specifically, the Well-Being and Personal Growth pillar of this initiative focuses on the mental health of our agents and corporate staff. By giving them the time and tools to focus on their well-being, we’re promoting a work environment that celebrates wins both large and small and allows our agents to be comfortable with whatever professional pace they’re setting.
In the insurance industry, as with any fast-paced career, it’s easy to experience feelings of inadequacy with your failures and successes. It’s important to realize how common and natural those feelings are while deploying a plan of acknowledging them and working through them in the healthiest way possible. Hopefully one or several of the entries on this list will help our agents who are struggling in this way.
With The Ripple Model, Symmetry agents are supported by resources that give them opportunities to focus on their well-being and mental health in a way few other organizations allow for.
As a Symmetry agent, you will have access to high-quality life insurance, disability income insurance, critical illness insurance, and annuity products from more than 30 well-known insurance companies. This gives you the flexibility and reach you need to tailor plans to meet clients' individual coverage needs.
To learn more about how to begin a fulfilling career as a life insurance agent, contact us today .