The Imposter Syndrome —What it is and how to overcome it

Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in, or that you aren’t worthy of your success? Do you work hard to achieve your goals but still struggle to feel proud of yourself?

You may be experiencing “Imposter Syndrome,” but don’t worry, you are not alone! Studies have shown that as many as 70% of people have experienced these same feelings at some point in their lives.

 Today, I have some steps to share with you that will help you work through your self-doubt and overcome those negative feelings and thought patterns. But first, let’s identify the types of thought patterns that are leading you down the path of self-doubt and preventing you from recognizing your value.

Do you relate to any of the following thought patterns?

  • You set high goals for yourself and feel like a failure whenever you make a mistake, no matter how small that mistake may be.
  • You believe that when you are successful, it’s because you got lucky.
  • You don’t celebrate your success because you worry someone might think less of your skills and abilities and call you a fraud.
  • You limit the tasks you take on and avoid taking risks because you do not want to deal with failure.
  • You struggle with asking for help because you don’t want others to think you are unqualified.

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, I want you to try some of the following exercises:

1.            Acknowledge those “imposter” feelings. Ignoring your feelings doesn’t help them to go away. When you are doubting yourself, it is important to acknowledge how you feel and to remind yourself that it is a normal response.

2.            Reflect on the underlying cause. Think about where your self-doubt is coming from. Why do you think you don’t deserve success? Why do you think you are not capable of success? What is making you feel like you don’t belong?

3.            Focus on the facts. Once you have acknowledged your feelings, shift your focus to the positive facts about yourself. What are your qualifications? What are some things you have achieved? What are some challenges you’ve overcome? 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 your thoughts are serving you in a positive way. We are in control of the things we tell ourselves. Does telling yourself you don’t have what it takes helping you in any way? No matter what you are thinking about yourself, reflect on whether or not your thoughts are helping you or hindering you.

5.            Choose your words wisely. Reframing negative thoughts can have a profound impact on your self-esteem. Instead of telling yourself that you are not qualified, tell yourself that you are committed to doing what it takes.

6.            Set realistic goals. Do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Remember, everything is a process and no matter how small the progress may seem, it is something to be proud of because you are doing the work. 

7.            Accept that we all make mistakes. Instead of living in fear of failure, approach failure with a different frame of mind. Mistakes are a normal part of life and they are the learning experiences that strengthen our abilities and make us stronger. Instead of hiding your mistakes, be honest about them and you may even help someone else out by sharing your experience.

7.            Ask for help when you need it. No one knows everything. When you are stuck or having a hard time, reach out to a friend or a colleague for support. Knowing when to ask for help is a strength, not a weakness. If you are still having trouble feeling confident enough to reach out to someone you know, contact a professional that can provide you with the support you need.

8.            Accept compliments. Do you try to downplay compliments because the attention makes you feel uncomfortable? Or perhaps you wonder if the compliment is genuine? Don’t let yourself overthink compliments. When someone gives you a compliment, just say “Thank you!”

Living in a state of self-doubt holds you back from achieving your full potential and living the full life you deserve. I encourage you to try the above exercises and as always, I am here for you!

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