So, if you have read the first three blogs you are probably thinking can this get any better? Well put down your beer (see what I have done there) and have a read of this one.

I hope that you have been enjoying them so far and to anyone out there who is struggling, please know that there is a large community of us working through all of our struggles on the daily. You are not alone. I have reactivated my old Facebook account to allow me to share this blog on another platform. The idea being that Sobering Thoughts can reach a further audience and I can provide another voice that emboldens people to speak out about their problems. I said from the outset that first and foremost this blog is to help me. But from the overwhelming number of messages I have had from fellow strugglers, the blog is assisting people to come to terms with whatever internal battles they are having and pushing them to vocalise or in some cases write about how they’re feeling. This is brilliant and long may it continue. I have also been contemplating the idea of starting a group for Sobering Thoughts on Facebook which people can become a part of. I know that I am still in the infancy of this blog writing business, and I am in no way an expert but if there is another safe platform and space for people to share then why not. Let me know if this sounds appealing to you or anyone you think would benefit from it and I can look to get things moving over the next few weeks.

Over the course of the first three blogs, I have not delved deep into a topic, so I wanted to focus on something specific this week. Having spoken to a couple of friends on this particular subject I feel it’s a great talking point. This piece will be divided up into two parts with the first discussing ‘imposter syndrome’ and then the second part looking at how a person’s (me) sense of belonging may be affected by this, part two will be released next week as there is too much to cover in one blog.

‘Impostor syndrome’ well what is it? Basically, the standard definition is as follows, “is the experience of feeling like a phony. You feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck,” This is definitely something I have felt my entire adult life. I believe that having this on your mind regularly effects how you are day to day, how you interact and the way you feel about yourself.

Let’s take the professional environment. Are you an achiever at work? Do you feel the success you have achieved is deserved? In my case I have doubted myself ever since I started working full time at the young age of twenty-two. Now, this could be down to a number of factors for example the work environment itself. Is it healthy? Yes and no in this case. It started off very healthily but in the first year of me working full time I went through a very difficult time personally which made me feel very inadequate as a person. I will never individually name people, employers, organisations (in a negative way) etc in these blogs out of respect and decency from my side but they of course will know who they are, maybe. I began working for the first business in January 2013. The company was in its early days, and I was genuinely enthused by the prospect of building this business up. Reflecting now, I would like to think this was definitely achieved in some parts during the years I spent with them and part of that was down to me, despite the final eighteen months of my employment being slightly more traumatic. My confidence had been eroded by the end and I seriously had reservations on whether I could carry on in the business world. I had started to feel like a fraud, I didn’t fit in. This wasn’t for me at all, I wasn’t good enough to work at any higher level of any organisation. When your confidence and character are displaced like that, it can be hard to come back from and I don’t think I have ever completely recovered.

When you go through this type of experience at work naturally it has a knock-on effect at home and in your life away from work. You begin to question am I good enough in every aspect of my life? Some people are unable to compartmentalise the different sections of their lives, I am certainly one of those people. I hope it is something I can work on and achieve over time.

In my last job I was made redundant during the pandemic. Now this at the time was not uncommon and many people were employment casualties in 2020. This again made me question everything. Why am I being made redundant? Am I failure? Not everyone was being laid off, only around 10% of the work force and I was one of the chosen few. I am not sure if anyone could look at that and not come to the same conclusion of feeling abject failure and rejection. I felt very let down by my employers and in particular my boss who I thought had not tried to protect me and my colleagues in our department. The self-doubt simmered once more. Was I not good enough to be kept on? I had really enjoyed this job and loved the people I worked with (even more so in the case of one of the employees) which made leaving even harder. I had thought I was achieving success in this role and selling to my full potential, but this was cast aside when it came to choosing who was being kicked out the door. The resentment to this decision for not only myself but the other people who were released has only intensified with seeing how that business is now flourishing in its marketplace. I applied for hundreds of jobs and got nowhere with any of them, this led to feeling a high amount of anxiety. I countered this feeling with the only tried and trusted method and began drinking heavily. This led to further feelings of anxiety, self doubt and the vicious cycle of drinking, getting up the next day repeating and not feeling great up about myself. Thoughts of losing my flat, my possessions and not being able to cover the bills began to spread into my head. This is not a good place to be. I also have the hungriest cat on planet earth who requires regular feeding, sometimes in the early hours which I must say is not welcome. Thanks Nigel. Yes, he is called Nigel. See my Instagram for regular posts and stories on the greatest feline of all time.

Thankfully and very luckily, I was employed again after this disappointment and my employers as I mentioned in an earlier blog have been superb and incredibly supportive to me in my recovery. Supportive, respectful, and fully invested in me to succeed for them. I know I am very fortunate to have them, and they have also made me feel like they are lucky to have me. I feel respected, valued and not seen as just a number on a payslip. You can’t buy that. Thank you to Summit Platforms, a truly great company to be a part of.

We spend a large amount of time at work and the importance of having a stable job environment is paramount to having sound mental health. The feelings I have had within the time I have worked have very much been up and down. Feeling that ‘impostor syndrome’ status is not healthy and one that I need to work on more and more as my therapy continues. I need to embrace the achievements I have had and not dwell on the perceived down points that will naturally occur at the workplace. We all get them, even the most successful of people have had setbacks. It is never a smooth journey. I want to work in an environment where I feel valued, and my voice is heard. Sometimes, as my colleagues may testify to I have too much to say for myself and again that is something I am working on. If you aren’t feeling valued in your job, my advice would be to evaluate that and do something about it. Speak to your colleagues, your superiors and if they don’t want to listen then you will know that they aren’t for you and it could be time to move on.  

In part two, I will be focusing on how my sense of belonging has come into question over the years. This will be more to do with my personal life and how my relationships with friends, family and partners have been affected. I hope you can join me next week.

Thanks again for reading.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts