How to overcome imposter syndrome

How to overcome imposter syndrome

9 October 2023

You know the feeling: The job you’ve been lusting after for years (with the salary to match) is finally yours, but then there’s the silent nag that HR will tap you on the shoulder and explain that they’ve made a huge mistake.

Ever feel like a fraud? Like you just don’t measure up? That your success is nothing but the result of an abundance of serendipitous luck? Welcome to “imposter syndrome” – the feeling that you’re not as good as everyone thinks you are. There’s a lot of talk about it, but what exactly does it mean?

According to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70% of people experience imposter feelings at some point. Yup, insecurity evidently enjoys company. Also struggling with imposter syndrome, Meryl Streep once commented: “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”

You put in tons of work to get ahead in life. You face down obstacle after obstacle. You get promoted and praised for your efforts – and instead of enjoying it, you sit there thinking: “I don’t deserve any of this.” Many of us equate self-worth with achievement. Outside circumstances play a role too, especially if you’re part of a minority and feel like you need to “prove” your efficiency, competency, or intelligence.

This close relative of generalized anxiety disorder is the ultimate confidence killer and causes self-doubt and a persistent feeling of inadequacy, completely overshadowing accomplishments and abilities.

So, what can you do to turn the volume down on imposter syndrome?

  • Refresh your self-belief. Make a list of your qualities, skills, and strengths. Write down the reasons why you deserve whatever praise or accomplishment you’ve received.
  • Reflect on your journey. Counter mind trickery with hard data. Remind yourself where you started and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are. Take pride in your achievements and allow yourself to dream about even further achievements.
  • Establish a truth team. Sometimes all it takes is the wisdom of others to remind you of your capabilities.
  • Embrace a mantra. Find a quote, or a phrase that holds meaning to you. One that will remind you of your power. Something like: “I am enough” could hush your inner critic and get your mindset back on a positive track.
  • Be kind to yourself. Overcoming imposter syndrome is not easy, it takes courage and agility. You are not a fraud. You would never have made it this far if you were not capable.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Your greatest obstacle could be the voice in your head. So, focus on all that you are and start believing that your perceived flaws are just that – perception.

If you always feel like a dwarf among giants, take today as an opportunity to be proud of your achievements and capabilities. You deserve to celebrate the joys, zest, and power of your accomplishments, always.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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