Imposter Syndrome – What is it and 5 Ways to Overcome it

Imposter Syndrome, Leadership Training Programs, Self Confidence

Sylibi - Natalie Martinez, instructor

Written by Natalie Martinez

January 27, 2022

Many women feel imposter syndrome when in a new role or in management. Learning to embrace yourself and your talents is a key pathway to overcoming feeling “lost” or like you do not fit in.

Feeling Like You Don’t Belong?

Have you ever been in a room full of professionals, peers, or even friends and thought, “I do not belong here,” or “how lucky did I get to find myself in this situation?” You are not alone. Many Women have this experience on an everyday basis and it is often referred to as imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is the self-belief that you are not as competent, as deserving, or as worthy as those around you. Imposter syndrome means you constantly feel like you are a phoney and you are waiting for the moment someone will find you out and expose you. For example, you may graduate university and think that it was all a giant fluke that you were able to achieve such a high standard of education. You may marry the love of your life and consider what luck you have found to deserve to be with such a great person. These feelings are not uncommon, but they can be problematic. Imposter syndrome is often associated with perfectionism which can cause an individual a lot of anxiety in a variety of situations.

Imposter syndrome can cause you to feel constantly inadequate and make you stress more than ever necessary. You might believe that the only reason you did well on a test is because you spent all night studying, never that you are an intelligent and capable individual. You will believe that the only reason your friends like you is because you make an effort to memorize their favourite things and surprise them on special occasions. As you can imagine, living like this can be extremely stressful and anxiety eliciting. However, there are ways you can overcome imposter syndrome and live a happier and more fulfilled life.

1. Identifying the Problem is the First Step in Overcoming It

The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to identify if you have it. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you dwell on small mistakes in your work?
  • Do you attribute your success to outside factors?
  • Are you sensitive to criticism, even if it is constructive?
  • Do you ever think you will be found out as a phony?

If you considered “yes” to one or more of these questions you may be dealing with imposter syndrome. Now that you know you suffer from this syndrome, you can now take the appropriate steps to overcome it and become a better version of yourself, for yourself.

2. How We Respond to Ourselves Reflects How We Will Feel Among Others

Next, we need to develop a healthy response to failure and making mistakes. We ALL make mistakes, we all have shortcomings, and we all fail at something. Sometimes we may work years towards a particular goal and still fail. Failing or making a mistake does not determine your value as a person or it does not make you less competent than those around you. When failing or making a mistake, remind yourself that there is value in making mistakes! Practice gratitude in every situation to remove the negative mindset from yourself. Think of all the things you’ve ever failed at in the past and think about how you overcame them.

3. Finding Someone You Can Trust is Essential to Personal Growth

Third, consider talking to someone. I know that admitting you have these types of feelings of being a fraud can be nerve racking, but trust me, expressing yourself to others can be extremely freeing! Try to find someone in your life that you feel comfortable opening up to and if you do not have someone like that in your life then there is no shame in talking to a professional. Talking to anyone can send you back to reality and help you realize that these fraudulent feelings are not reality.

4. Realize Feelings Do Not Represent Reality

Next, we need to work on separating feelings from facts. There will be times throughout your day that you may feel inadequate, incompetent, unworthy, or any other these negative feelings. Realize that these feelings do not reflect reality! Do not project your feelings onto the world because your truth is subjective not objective. Try not to create an objective reality surrounded by negative feelings and emotions because of your feelings at that moment.

5. Shift How You Talk To Yourself. You Are Worthy Of Compassion & Love

Finally, start to become conscious of the conversations you are having in your own mind. Every time you have some time to think before falling asleep or on your way to work, start to analyze what your self-talk is. Are you encouraging yourself and thinking about all the positive things you’ve done in your life? Or are you thinking about every mistake you’ve ever made? These self-conversations are completely under your control! Begin shifting your self-talk to a more positive lens. To start, begin thinking of one thing you are grateful for on that day or week. You can also think of a time in your life where you felt completely at peace, replay that scenario over and over again. Think about going back to moments similar to that. Think of anything that makes you feel good about yourself!

Dealing with imposter syndrome can be exhausting, you might even be used to the exhaustion that you are fearful of escaping. But life can be so much more fulfilling if you start taking small steps towards freeing your mind of self-doubt. You can do this!

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