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7 Tips to Defeat Imposter Syndrome

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Who am I write a blog? What makes me think I have anything someone else wants to hear? Write a book? People will look at my name on the author line and say ‘who does she think she is writing a book?’

What if I go to that networking meeting and people find out I really don’t know what I am doing? I can give my name and title, but they will see right through me and realize I am not successful at all. They will know immediately I am an imposter!

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong, or everyone is going to find out that you don’t deserve your achievements?

If you can relate to those feelings of chronic self-doubt you are not alone. Often this is the called ‘imposter syndrome’.

Studies suggest 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point in their career.

Overall, the imposter syndrome stems from a high sense of self-doubt. Instead of attributing your success to your skills, you might downplay your success and attribute it to luck.

Here are Signs You Might Be Suffering from Imposter Syndrome

Do you relate to any of these patterns?

  • Perfectionism. You may set high goals for yourself. Because your goal is perfection, the smallest mistakes may make you feel like a failure.
  • Attribute success to luck. You downplay your success because you do not believe you deserve the success, or you believe you are just lucky.
     
  • Unable to recognize success. Instead of celebrating your accomplishments, you worry that others will see “the truth” about your skills and abilities.
  • Fear of failure. Because of a fear of failure, you may set challenging goals and be disappointed when those goals fail. You might also take on limited tasks because you fear failure.
  • Difficulty asking for help. You might have difficulty asking for help because you believe asking for help will show that you’re wrong or unqualified.

Experiencing imposter syndrome can limit your confidence to go after new opportunities because you feel that you do not deserve it.

Are you ready to face those fears and self-doubt? Here are some steps you can take to give yourself more credit and start defeating those feelings.

Steps to Defeat Imposter Syndrome

  1. Acknowledge imposter feelings. Recognize when you start feeling like an imposter. Instead of engaging with your thoughts of self-doubt, acknowledge that it is a normal response. Consider developing a physical method of acknowledging these feelings to bring them to light, Perhaps journaling, jot a note when you notice these feelings emerging.
  2. Understand the root of the cause. Why do you think you feel like you don’t belong? Is it due to a fear of failure? Do you believe that you don’t deserve success? Why or why not?
  3. Focus on facts, not feelings. When you start feeling like a fraud, focus on positive facts. For example, maybe you were chosen for a job interview because of your qualifications.
  4. Ask yourself if that thought helps or hinders you. Does feeling fraudulent help or hinder you?  How are those thoughts holding you back from achieving your goals and dreams?
     
  5. Reframe your thoughts. Instead of telling yourself that you don’t deserve success, reframe your thoughts to give yourself more credit and enjoy the experience.
    • Own your accomplishments instead of attributing them to “luck” or “help from others.”
    • Instead of setting impossibly high standards, set smaller goals so you can enjoy the process.
    • Remind yourself there will never be the “perfect time.”
    • Accept that we all have to start somewhere.
  6. Accept that it’s okay to make mistakes. Instead of fearing failure, develop a healthy response to making mistakes. Accept that it’s normal to make mistakes and learn from each mistake instead. Create a physical or emotional step will you take to change your thought process from failure to learning opportunity.
  7. Reach out for support. Having a safe space to receive support will help you reduce feelings of being an imposter. When you feel imperfect, make a mistake, or receive a compliment, your first instinct may be to hide. Instead, start reaching out to an encouraging mentor, coach, or colleague for support.
    • Say “thank you” when you receive a compliment.
    • Practice being honest when you feel imperfect, embarrassed, or have made a mistake.
    • Share and celebrate your achievements and successes.

Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you’re not good enough, you don’t belong, or you are undeserving. But it’s important to remind yourself that learning and making mistakes do not make you a fraud – it makes you human.

Instead of doubting yourself, take the above steps to build your self-esteem and self-worth. Defeat the LIES of negative self-talk.

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