As a mental health counselor, I understand that as a bearded professional, it's common to sometimes experience feelings of self-doubt or imposter syndrome. It's a shared experience among professionals of all kinds. Imposter syndrome is the belief that one is not qualified or competent enough to be in their position, despite evidence to the contrary. However, it can be incredibly challenging for those who feel that their appearance or personal style sets them apart from their colleagues.
Several factors can contribute to imposter syndrome, including high expectations for oneself, fear of failure or criticism, and a sense of being an outsider in a particular field or industry. Bearded professionals may be particularly susceptible to these feelings if they work in areas where a clean-shaven appearance is a norm or feel that their beard sets them apart from others.
Knowing you're not alone is essential if you're experiencing imposter syndrome as a bearded professional. Many people struggle with these feelings, and there are strategies that you can use to overcome them.
One important strategy is to focus on the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities that you bring to your job. Making a list of your accomplishments, strengths, and areas of expertise can remind you that you have had many successes, achieved a lot, and have valuable skills that you bring to the table. When you start to feel doubts creeping in, look at this list to remind yourself of your strengths.
As human beings, we tend to "awfulize" and "catastrophize" situations, making them out to be a bigger deal than they are. It can be easy to forget the importance of getting objective feedback and to reality-test negative self-talk. Having individuals in your circle who can offer support and help you work through your doubts and fears is tremendously important. This could be a trusted friend, family member, mentor, or therapist.
Another strategy is to practice self-compassion. This means treating yourself with kindness and understanding rather than being overly self-critical or judgmental. We tend to be harder on ourselves than others are with us. If someone else treated me the way I treated myself sometimes, I might not be sitting here to write this blog. Be good to yourself. Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes or when things don't go as planned. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that failure is a natural part of learning.
It can also be helpful to challenge negative thoughts when they arise. When you start to feel like you don't belong or are not good enough, ask yourself if these thoughts are true. Look for evidence that contradicts these negative thoughts, and remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.
Finally, it can be helpful to focus on learning and growth rather than perfection. No one is perfect, and it's unrealistic to expect yourself to be. Instead, focus on learning and growing in your job or field. Take on new challenges, seek out opportunities for professional development, and be open to feedback from others.
In conclusion, as a mental health counselor, I want you to know that if you're a bearded professional experiencing imposter syndrome, you're not alone. It's a common experience, but there are strategies you can use to overcome it. Focus on your accomplishments and skills, talk to someone about your feelings, practice self-compassion, challenge negative thoughts, and focus on learning and growth. You can overcome imposter syndrome with time and effort and feel more confident in your job or field.
Frankie E. Valle, LMHC, is the Owner and Chief Formulator of Esthete Beard Co., a men's grooming company that prioritizes mental and emotional wellness. With over a decade of experience as a Licensed Mental Counselor in Florida, Frankie is passionate about identifying real solutions to life issues and promoting healthy living through a faith-based approach. With a background as an Adjunct Professor and Consultant, he grew a small private practice into a treatment center before founding Esthete Beard Co. Check out Frankie's tips for achieving good mental, emotional, and spiritual balance in the Point Man Blost Post, where he emphasizes the importance of nurturing supportive fellowship, healthy living, and a meaningful relationship with God.