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10 Ways to overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Your 10 step guide to Imposter Syndrome and how to beat it

Imposter syndrome is the inability to believe that your success is based on your efforts or has been achieved due to your skill. It can be paralysing for those that suffer for it as they don’t feel ‘worthy’ or ‘qualified’ for a promotion, or praise or success.

Some common thoughts and feelings that may come up when you have Imposter Syndrome:

‘I must not fail’

Based on the belief if you fail you will be “found out”.

It leads to not being able to enjoy success.

‘It’s all down to luck’

Based on the tendency to attribute your hard work with external factors.

It leads to a fear that you won’t be able to succeed next time.

‘I feel like a fake’

Based on the belief that you give the impression you are more competent than you are.

It leads to believing you don’t deserve the position/promotion/recognition.

Studies have found it isn’t tied to depression or anxiety but a phenomenon that leaves a person convinced they may be exposed as a ‘fraud’. However we were not born with this psychological pattern, it is learnt and conditioned behaviour, which means you have the power to change that pattern.

Here is your 10 step guide beating Imposter Syndrome

1) Talk about it.

Studies have found that it doesn’t matter how old you, your gender, nationality or even how ‘successful’ you are - everyone is susceptible to feeling like an imposter. 

Even Einstein called himself an ‘involuntary swindler.’ 

In fact, it is found that over 85% of people will struggle with it as some point.

You are not alone. Talking about mental health and in particular not feeling good enough is a curial step towards removing its power over you. 

You are here, working on it, well done.

2) Feelings from the truth.

We have slowly become a society that accepts feelings as truth. But just because you may feel like a failure doesn’t mean that you are. Your mind gets overwhelmed when stressed and this can lead to getting tunnel vision. You are so much more than your current emotional state. Learn to identify the difference, this is a great life skill that comes in handy in all areas of your life. You got this.

3) Reality

Are you the youngest in your team? Are you a minority? Do you have different interests/lifestyle than your colleagues? 

It can be hard to ‘fit in’ no matter who you are

but something’s can emphasise that feeling. 

However, if this is the case you may be able to recognise and then rationalise that the imposter syndrome, 

give it time and discuss it with a manager to help with the integration. 

You belong there, as much as anyone else.

4) Be kind to yourself

I know, easier said than done. I would keep a physical list of positive feedback and things you like about yourself with specific examples for when that voice of self-doubt comes knocking. Remembering your positive traits shines some lights on the false stories that come with imposter syndrome. Take back your power, you are worthy.

5) Screw perfectionism

‘Flaws’ do not equal incompetence. You are a human being. Human beings are not infallible, our bodies get the flu without permission, you can’t control that. 

That one typo... is not a reflection of your intelligence and not a sackable offence. 

If you wanna argue that point, come find me. 

By trying to be some perfect robot you are robbing the world of its one chance to learn from and experience the real you. 

You have so much to give, it’s safe to be who you are.

6) Give them a name

Give that negative voice a name, Think of a name that sparks the feeling you get when rolling your eyes at something dumb. Some may choose Karen, others might pick Todd or Chad. Whatever name you pick, give it a personality. What does it look like? Mine is called Agent Smith. This allows you to separately identify Imposter Syndrome and initiate the master plan you are learning here. You are in control.

7) Visualise the hero

Mine is called Hugh, he’s a painfully sarcastic English dude with a cane. (Yes it’s House) 

He doesn’t take any prisoners when faced with opinions that aren’t backed up by evidence. 

He can't stand lies and mediocre excuses. He challenges what Agent Smith says, breaks down the ‘unworthy’ and 

‘ how have you have managed to pass off as someone who knows what they are doing?’ and shows them for what they are… false beliefs. 

This gets easier with practice, you can do this.

8) Reframe

Take a mistake and call it an opportunity. An opportunity to learn and improve. Every time you feel that ‘I am a failure’ mindset talking, write down how you can turn the situation into a lesson. Be constructive, this is about changing your perspective. Watch how quickly this can change your life.

9) Breathe

Take a moment to centre yourself, breathe in (4 counts) through the nose, out (4 counts) through the mouth. 

Concentrate on how your body feels, where you can feel contact and where there is tension.

 Release your jaw, relax your shoulders and breathe.

10) Help

Ask for Help. Vulnerability does not equal failure. You are experiencing this life with 7 Billion other people, so the belief that you are alone in this world isn’t true. Reach out to them. The chances are they have probably gone through something similar. Share experiences, resources and knowledge.

Read this list as much as you need to and share things that work for you. Each person will handle Imposter Syndrome slightly differently but armed with this article I know you will be able to take the first steps to regain your control and power back. If you have decided that its time to get professional help, check out how I could help you achieve that life you want.

You got this.