The key of how to overcome imposter syndrome comes down to naming it, recognizing it, and taking control.
Imposter Syndrome – A psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud” (Wikipedia).
Statistically speaking, it should sound familiar. After all, a 2011 study showed that over 70% of us will experience imposter syndrome at some point in our lives.
If you’ve already made it into this 70%, then you know it can stop you dead in your tracks. When you’re about to do something great like going after that dream client, attending networking events outside your comfort zone, or becoming a public speaker, Imposter Syndrome can slam the breaks on ambition and determination.
(If public speaking is one of your fears, check out my post Terrified to Speak? Remember These Three Things).
How to overcome Imposter Syndrome is all about awareness and action.
The following five tips for how to overcome imposter syndrome can help you to become more aware of when you’re in its grips. This will allow you to loosen its hold so you can get busy doing the awesome things you were meant to be doing!
Are you ready?
Tip #1: Name Imposter Syndrome when you feel it.
The moment you name something, you take away some of its power. Mindfulness shows us how to take a step back from our emotions and observe ourselves having them. Similarly, when we gain the ability to realize when we’re having Imposter Syndrome-ish thoughts, we can name it, step outside of it, and choose to act with complete disregard for it.
Tip #2: If you’re going to compare yourself to others, compare both up and down.
Isn’t it interesting that we have a tendency to compare ourselves only to those who know more than us (or that we perceive to know more than us) and never to those who know a great deal less? If you’re going to insist upon comparing yourself to those around you, level the playing field. Remember all the people who you could show a thing or two.
Tip #3: Focusing on providing value.
It’s amazing how shifting your attention can transform your experience. If you’re in a situation where you feel a great amount of pressure to be “the expert” and you’re convinced that you are in no way that expert, focus on providing value to those around you. If you keep your attention there, you can’t go wrong.
Tip #4: Start an accomplishments box.
An accomplishments box (or folder) is probably the greatest antidote to Imposter Syndrome that there is. The rules are simple: any time you accomplish something (reach a business goal, complete a degree or program, receive words of praise from someone you respect highly) put them in your box. When you feel Imposter Syndrome baring its teeth, pull out your box and revel in your antidote.
Tip #5: Mentor another.
Nothing will serve as a reminder of how much you actually do know (and completely take for granted) like mentoring someone in your industry who is ready to learn from you. You’ll be astounded at how much wisdom and experience you have to share, I promise you. Not to mention that it feels awesome to make a difference in a young up-and-coming person’s life.