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Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Gaining control over the thoughts in our head that make us feel we’re not good enough or not qualified for the job at hand.

How do we overcome what holds us back? If you read my last blog post you know we uncovered what imposter syndrome is and how it makes us feel. And not only does imposter syndrome make us feel a certain way, it also prevents us from acting on our goals or taking charge of our life. It causes uncertainty and fear, as if we’re not good enough to accomplish what we set out to do.

Well, now it’s time to take our lives back and gain the control we need to overcome imposter syndrome. Even many of the wealthiest, most educated, most prominent people in our world experience that feeling of being an imposter —being a fake or fraud, and yet somehow they still show up. So let’s take a look at some ways we can overcome our fears, and our feelings of unworthiness or not being good enough at what we do and learn to show up, even if it’s not perfect, every time. 

Talk about how imposter syndrome is making you feel

The first step to overcoming many things, including imposter syndrome, is to talk about it. Talk about how you feel. Get it out on the table and share your feelings with a friend who you may find has been there before. Talking about your thoughts and feelings creates awareness and acknowledgment of those feelings of “being a fraud”, “getting found out”, or “not being good” at the skill you’ve been successfully trained to do.

When we talk about and validate our feelings and how they make us feel we can start to do three things…. 1) we allow those feelings to exist, be seen, and heard, and 2) we can begin to recognize those feelings as soon as they show up next time. Let’s say when you’re asked to show up in your career, for your family and friends, or teach something, and 3)we learn to prevent and overcome those feelings of “at any moment someone will find out I’m a  fake”. Sharing your feelings and talking about imposter syndrome can help you take the first step towards showing up stronger.

Let go of perfectionism

Neat, tidy, and buttoned up always feels good when we’re going to debut our skills or share our knowledge with people. But, when we set the bar at perfection, we can feel like we might never finish the project perfectly, which leaves us feeling inadequate. For some, waiting for that perfect moment, the perfect weight, the perfect outfit, makes it so they never move ahead because perfect never comes. When we let go of perfectionism we embrace that we are human. Imposter syndrome makes us feel like if it’s not perfect then it’s not good enough because surely the “expert” is always perfect. Or imposter syndrome makes us feel that there’s someone better suited for the job. Let go of perfectionism and you will let go of the feeling of “not being ready” and questioning whether you can actually do it, again and again and again. 

Can you really recreate that thing you did so well once before? Yes, you can. Should you really be the person everyone looks to for this specific guidance? Yes, you should because you’ve trained for it, you’ve experienced it, and you have the knowledge to prove it.

Celebrate your wins

When you celebrate your wins, you realize that while yes you’re still working towards your end goal, you have accomplished so much already. Your skills, your knowledge your progress, all the things that you’ve been allowing yourself to second guess, show that you have what it takes. You’re right where you need to be. 

By celebrating your wins you realize you’re more ahead than you thought. You’re less likely to compare yourself to others who are “further” ahead than you and you validate that you are in fact qualified for the job. Imposter syndrome doesn’t stand a chance when you look at what you’ve accomplished and are well aware that those things didn’t happen by luck. You accomplished those things because of who you are and the actions you took to get there.

black woman with cell phone looking in window smiling confident

Cultivate self-compassion and positive self-talk

Our minds believe what we tell them. When we let thoughts of “I’m not good enough” “I don’t deserve the credit” “I wasn’t that good. Why is everyone cheering?”, our brain believes it and springs into protective action. Those thoughts and feelings then build on themselves and make us doubt ourselves in many areas —feeling uncomfortable showing up.

Self-compassion and positive self-talk are the same type of talk we give our children and our best friends in need. It’s the same way we speak to a loved one who needs support. When you talk to yourself that same way, showering yourself with compliments and uplifting messages, you tell your brain what to believe. When you tell yourself you can do something or that you are great, your brain believes it and begins to act in a way that brings those thoughts to life. 

Create some positive statements that you tell yourself regularly. Become your own cheerleader. Congratulate yourself on your successes and if you trip up, pick yourself back up because that’s what you would do for your kids or best friends.

Talk to a therapist

If all else fails, talk to a therapist or counselor. Someone who is outside your world that can listen objectively with no judgment. When you’re speaking to someone you tend to hear yourself better. And when you hear yourself better, you can begin to sort through the thoughts and feelings that maybe don’t make sense. Once you’re able to do that, a trained therapist can give you an action plan to recognize, validate, and overcome the feelings of imposter syndrome and being a fraud or not good enough.  A therapist gives you guidance. Plus they’ve seen it before. You won’t be alone and you can feel confident talking to someone who can help.

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