Impostor Syndrome is surprisingly common, even though until recent years it was largely unknown.
According to some research, up to 82% of women may experience it at some stage of their life. (source)
So while this condition may be highly prevalent in today’s society (and even more so for us career women), not many leaders are aware that there are ways to deal with this condition successfully.
After many years of helping leaders in the workplace overcome their Impostor Syndrome, I decided to gather my best three tips for you.
But first, let me give you a little bit of background about Impostor Syndrome.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
According to Wikipedia, Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve all they have achieved.
Individuals with Impostor Syndrome incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.
While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally.
Impostor Syndrome Effects
Among other things, Impostor Syndrome may cause you to fear failure, and that in turn may make you avoid seeking more visible or higher stakes roles.
In other words, Impostor Syndrome makes you play small, even though you have so many things to offer.
Impostor Syndrome is rooted in self-doubt, which may cause you to downplay or even undermine your own success, even when you’ve reached an important milestone.
Additionally, you may think that your success is accidental, or due to external factors – but when external factors are wreaking havoc in your work, you may be taking the blame on yourself.
In short, Impostor Syndrome has many effects, but there is no doubt that it reduces your ability to get ahead in your workplace and be the best leader you can be.
This is why it is crucial for you as a career woman to overcome Impostor Syndrome.
How to overcome Impostor Syndrome?
Although there is no one treatment for Impostor Syndrome, I have an arsenal of tips that will help you overcome it for good.
There are no shortcuts and all of the tips I am about to give you require a shift in your mindset and a little bit of work put in consistently over time.
Turning these tips into life-long habits will not only help you overcome impostor syndrome, but will give you a better quality of life.
Without further ado, here are my best 3 tips to overcome Impostor Syndrome:
1. Focus on your strengths rather than compare yourself to other people
“Comparison is the thief of joy”, Theodore Roosevelt once said.
When we use our peers and stakeholders as a benchmark for our own success, we have a tendency to see only the gaps and where we measure up short.
We notice the things they are good at and think they are better than us.
We become consumed with our failings and step over our strengths, talents, and unique abilities.
Applying your strengths in any situation will make things easier and give you confidence.
If you’re not sure what your strengths are, ask a trusted advisor about the contribution you make, the impact you have, and what it looks like when you’re doing your best work.
Then apply that to everything you do.
2. Surround yourself with people who believe in you
There are plenty of ‘naysayers’ out there.
Those are the people who will shut you down, blast you with their negativity, and generally tear apart your suggestions.
By seeking out supporters you’ll find the encouragement you need to speak up, stand for what matters to you and lift others in the process.
Find your tribe, keep them close and turn to them whenever self-doubt takes a grip, they will build you up and fill you with confidence.
3. Identify what you know to be true
Brene Brown helped us to understand that what our brain doesn’t know, it makes up, and it usually creates doomsday scenarios far worse than anything ever likely to happen in reality.
When we make assumptions and worry about the day that will never come, we waste valuable energy and time second-guessing ourselves instead of focussing on taking action that will move us closer to our goals.
So find some perspective, get clarity on what the truth actually is, and place your attention on what you can control.
Overcoming impostor syndrome is absolutely crucial to your personal development and your career development.
It takes a little bit of work, and a some consistency, but at the end of the day it’s your facing it and deciding you want to change your life that’s going to be the major driving force that will turn things around for you.
Good luck on your journey and if you’d like to find out more ways to overcome impostor syndrome, click the “Learn More” button below.