Imposter syndrome sucks. Chances are you have experienced imposter syndrome at some point during your life and most likely in relation to your career. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to experience imposter syndrome, I’m here to help you through it. More importantly, I’m here to remind you that you are a bad-ass bitch.
Imposter Syndrome has got nothing on you so it’s time to kick those imposter feelings to the ground and drive your career forwards with confidence.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the topic of imposter syndrome: what it is and how to overcome it. So you can put your imposter syndrome woes behind you for once and for all.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Whether you’re a business owner, employee, new parent, content creator, student, influencer, or someone trying a new hobby, you’ve probably experienced Imposter syndrome at one point or another.
According to Merriam-Webster, imposter syndrome can be defined as the “false and sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill”. Yet despite knowing it’s definition is based upon the fact that it’s a false belief, we can’t help but fall for it and begin to doubt our skills and abilities.
Imposter syndrome isn’t a new revelation either. In fact, the term imposter syndrome was first established in 1978 by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, two American psychologists.
At this point, I feel it’s important to note that the term originally coined was Imposter Phenomenon. While imposter syndrome is most-commonly used, the sensation isn’t actually a “medical syndrome” and, therefore, we shouldn’t refer to it as such. In this article, I will continue to refer to it interchangably as imposter syndrome and imposter phenomenon, but I will be making a personal conscious effort to switch to saying “phenomenon” in my everyday life when talking about those feelings of self-doubt!
You may also take comfort in the knowledge that impostor syndrome, or rather imposter phenomenon, is actually quite common. Researchers believe that up to 70% of people have suffered from imposter phenomenon at one point or another in life. Although women and minorities are most likely to experience imposter syndrome than their male counterparts.
In another study, it was found that 60% of women who were considering starting a business didn’t pursue their business because of lack of confidence in their own knowledge, skills and abilities. This lack of self-confidence is imposter syndrome. And it’s time that we put a stop to imposter syndrome and stopped it from holding us back from achieving our dreams.
How to recognise imposter syndrome
Recognising imposter syndrome can be difficult. Most of us have experienced feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point in our lives. When I quit my job due to burnout, I was left with immense feelings of self-doubt over my capabilities. Looking back, I now realise that those feelings of self-doubt were actually imposter syndrome.
You see, if you still feel unworthy or inadequate when your accomplishments are a result of your own skills, hard work, and preparation, you’re probably suffering from impostor syndrome.
Rather than celebrating your achievements and successes, you might find yourself worrying that you’re a fraud, wondering how long it will take before someone calls you out for being a trickster. When you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you will struggle letting yourself take credit for the things you’ve achieved and the hard work that you’ve put in. Instead, you’ll play it off as luck or worry that you’ve unknowingly cheated the system.
The truth is, if you feel this way, your brain is probably lying to you.
5 ways to overcome imposter syndrome
Now that we understand what imposter syndrome is and how to recognise it, it’s time to start working on eradicating those feelings of imposter syndrome. You deserve to take credit for your hard work. And you deserve to be proud of all that you’ve achieved.
So, here are my five favourite tips for managing and overcoming imposter syndrome:
Create a book of brags
One of the best ways to overcome those feelings of imposter syndrome is to remind yourself that you are worthy. That’s where the book of brags comes in! By writing down all of your achievements in life, you can keep track of your successes and have something to look back on for validation whenever you feel those imposter feelings creeping in.
Your book of brags doesn’t have to be an actual book. It can be a notepad, word document, or even a notes app on your phone. However you decide to do it, make sure you list your achievements. They don’t have to be ground-breaking achievements either. Simply note down everything you’ve achieved, no matter how small it may seem.
A book of brags is perfect for having an analytical measure of your achievements so you can fight imposter syndrome with logic.
Engage in positive self-talk
I’m not much of a woo-woo so you won’t find me telling you to simply manifest confidence. Wih that said, I do believe that there is power within manifestation and affirmations. By creating a positive mindset, you can set yourself up for success.
Through affirmations and positive self-talk you can foster a growth mindset. When experiencing imposter syndrome, you’ll probably encounter thoughts such as “I’m not worthy” or “I don’t deserve this”. Sound familiar? These self-sabotaging thoughts are examples of negative self-talk. These pesky thoughts provide rational explanations for irrational feelings. By listening to these thoughts, you wind up at risk of believing them and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To nip those self-sabotaging thoughts in the bud, you’ve got to replace the negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Neutralise the negative thoughts by telling yourself that you are capable, worthy, and 100% responsible for your own success. By countering imposter syndrome with reality-based positive statements such as “I can do this because…” you’ll soon learn how to quieten that negative-ninny living inside of your head!
Know that you’re not alone
Surround yourself with great people. Reach out and talk to those close to you about your feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Chances are you’ll find that they’ve all felt the same way at some point in life. They may also be able to help you clearly see why you are capable and worthy of your achievements.
Along with your nearest and dearest, having an online support network can also do wonderful things for your self-confidence and self-belief. Find an online community that you can join to chat with and learn from people in similar positions to you. I love The Independent Girls Collective as a network for small business owners to connect and empower oneanother to flourish in their careers.
For content creators and businesses who feel imposter syndrome when showing up online, the Grow & Glow community are wonderful for kicking imposter feelings to the ground and finding confidence in your online space.
Let go of your inner perfectionist
Learn from your mistakes but don’t get bogged down in the idea of perfection. Being a perfectionist could be feeding your feelings of imposter syndrome. So, throw the rule book out the window and wave goodbye to the life of a perfectionist!
Okay… I’m over-reacting slight but learning to accept your mistakes can help you overcome imposter syndrome. We can’t all be perfect at everything we try. The world would be incredibly boring if it didn’t challenge us every now and again.
Instead of striving for perfection, set yourself realistic and achievable yet challenging goals. Then learn to see your mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. By approaching tasks with an open mindset and learning from your mistakes, you can confidently step into your success and quieten the voice of imposter syndrome.
Say “yes” to new opportunities
The best way to overcome Imposter Syndrome? Keep putting yourself in uncomfortable positions and say yes to new opportunities. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be difficult. But the benefits of doing so are unbeatable.
The more your step out of your comfort zone by saying “yes” to new opportunities, the larger your comfort zone will grow. And as your comfort zone grows, space for imposter syndrome shrinks. So rather than staying where you feel safe and comfortable, tackle imposter syndrome face-to-face by trying new things. Without expanding your opportunities, you’ll never grow your skillset. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and show imposter syndrome that you’re not scared of it anymore.
By combining these 5 steps for overcoming imposter syndrome, you can start your journey to an imposter syndrome free life.
And remember, imposter syndrome is only trying to protect you. So next time those self-doubting thoughts of imposter syndrome pop into your head, thank them for trying to protect you. Then, let them know that you can handle this and don’t need protecting from your achievements and new opportunities. It’s time to be proud of all that you’ve achieved and shout from the roof tops about your successes!