Secrets to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

If you’ve experienced imposter syndrome, you’re not alone. According to NBC News, 70% of Americans have experienced it at least once in their careers.

Imposter syndrome is defined by [HBR] as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” If you’ve faced imposter syndrome, you’ve likely had variations of these thoughts:

“I’m not an expert here, so I can’t offer any valuable opinions.””People won’t listen to me because I don’t have that many years of experience.””My team will think I’m incompetent since I don’t have all the answers.””I was promoted because I was lucky. I don’t really deserve it”.

We convince ourselves that these stories are true because it’s a way of protecting ourselves from failure, or the worst case scenario. These feelings are completely normal. Although we cannot predict when these feelings will show up, we can be rewire our brain to react appropriately when they do. The tips below have worked for our Workhap team; you may find them helpful as well!

What evidence do you have?

For example, let’s take one of the statements mentioned earlier: I was promoted because I was lucky. I don’t really deserve it.

  • What facts prove that you are a fraud and don’t deserve the promotion? Chances are, these are simply fears that are floating around in your mind, and aren’t necessarily true.
  • What facts prove that you do deserve the promotion? I had outstanding quarterly reviews, managed projects from start to finish, took on projects outside of my job scope, delivered depth and quality in my projects, and demonstrated my ability to present front of leadership.

Consider the outcomes of your beliefs:

Using the same example from above, think about these questions and the outcomes

  • What happens when you don’t believe your worth? You’ll constantly undersell yourself, take the lower pay, take on other people’s work, and essentially – you’re telling yourself (and others around you) that you don’t see your worth.
  • What happens when you believe your worth? How would you show up if you embraced the belief that you ARE worthy, capable, and deserving? Opportunities and people will flock to you. Think about the most confident person you know. The energy they embody is contagious, which is probably why they’re the first person that comes to mind. What if you embraced that side of yourself?

Reframe your statements

If you feel like an imposter, that’s a sign of growth. Doing something unfamiliar will feel awkward, intimidating, and unnatural. But no one’s expecting you to be perfect when you do something for the first time. Neither should you.

Practice reframing your statements to:

  • Experience doesn’t equate to more value. Value can come in the form of thoughtful questions.
  • People do want to hear my thoughts because I bring a different perspective to the table.
  • I’m not an expert and I don’t have all the answers, but I’m resourceful and can get help to figure out the next step.

And remember, you’re not alone. So many people are affected by imposter syndrome. But you’re also capable of overcoming it.

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