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Struggling with the Imposter Syndrome?

Struggling with the Imposter Syndrome?

You may be surprised to learn… you are not alone. Just about everyone experiences the passing feeling that they may not have what it takes. Let’s explore what the Imposter Syndrome is and how you can overcome it.

Remember that highly successful and accomplished people experience this as well as those just starting out. When it comes to the Imposter Syndrome, it doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, a writer like Maya Angelou or a genius like Einstein, both admitting to feeling like an imposter at times.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

When people struggle with imposter syndrome, they feel like they do not know what they are doing and wonder if they are really qualified. This is happening despite their success, accomplishments, education and feedback from others. So instead of feeling confident, one would experience some nervousness or anxiety about being “found out” because they feel like a fraud. This can happen in a room full of people who admires them, as one very famous actor reported.

The ‘unbelief’ in oneself despite diplomas, degrees, accomplishments is pervasive and hangs in the background tinging any success, “because it does not feel real.” Sometimes people who who struggle with Imposter Syndrome report not feeling “deserving” of such a great job, or the award, or the opportunity.

This syndrome has its roots in early childhood experiences and those family beliefs around success.

If a family was highly successful, and the parents did not encourage their children and focused only on their own accomplishments, the child can grow up not wanting to outshine their parents. If the parents were overly critical, the child grows up doubting themselves. Children form beliefs about themselves based on how they were treated. These early beliefs, unfortunately, do not usually “update” with accomplishments and success later in life.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome

This brings us to two of the signs that Imposter Syndrome may be at work; perfectionism and procrastination are indicators that one’s self-regard is out of balance. Perfectionists never feel like enough is enough and there is a tendency to overdo something which only reinforces their belief they will never get it right. 

And on the other extreme, people who procrastinate put off doing ‘the thing’ until the last minute and end up unprepared.

Combating Imposter Syndrome

The first step to solving any problem is to identify it as a problem. If you struggle with this, admit it, and then begin applying strategies to stop fueling this self-destructive belief system.

Learn to Accept Positive Feedback

Because of perfectionism or procrastination, positive feedback doesn’t feel justified so the tendency is to discount it. STOP doing that. Graciously accept the compliment.

Keep a Success Log

When self-regard is out of balance and the Imposter Syndrome is at work, one might believe they only accomplish things because of luck, or how they look or who they know. They do not claim their success because of who they are and what they know. Keeping a Success Log is a powerful reinforcement of your accomplishments.

Reframe the Negative Self-Talk

This is easier said than done, however, it is important to catch yourself in any negative or limiting thoughts. Saying things like, “I have no idea what I am doing,” or, “I never seem to get this right,” feed that deep seated belief system. And when words come from our own mouth and we hear it being said, it carries so much power.

Reframe that negative statement. Instead of “I never,” say, “In the past, I used to…” and then gradually you will be able to simply recognize and declare, “This may be a challenge but, I got this.”

Take the steps you need to stop this sabotage of your future. There is nothing to gain by playing small.. And these steps will help you so you build your authentic confidence and will not need to “fake it until you make it.” Because, here is something you may not know, confidence is as much an action as it is a feeling.


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