If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you may have had a form of these thoughts:
“I’m not good enough.”
‘I need to do more before they realize I’m a fraud.”
“When will they catch on that I’m not as great as they think I am?”
Imposter syndrome, also known as imposter phenomenon, is a psychologically recognized thought pattern that feeds off of self-doubt. These thoughts may loop in your head and keep you from making progress on your next big project or simple life decisions.
The term imposter syndrome was coined by Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in their 1978 paper. They found that imposter syndrome was mainly associated with women. And while today it’s known that both men and women feel the sting of imposter syndrome, women have a unique relationship with it through the high standards set by society.
The life of a woman entrepreneur is challenging enough. It’s even more difficult when we’re unable to internalize our successes because of imposter syndrome. It’s time we shed light on this very real issue and free our minds of self-doubt. Here’s 5 ways to overcome imposter syndrome.
Write a new script
Recognizing our internal dialogue is one of the most important steps to take the moment we start to feel like an imposter. Notice what thoughts start to show up when you’re doing a task that may trigger imposter syndrome..
Next, it’s time to flip the script.
If you have a thought such as: “I’ll never understand this project” turn this statement on its head and say to yourself: “We’re all learning as we go and in this process I’m bound to learn something new”.
The more you fill your mind with positive self-talk, the easier it will be to accomplish your tasks and overcome imposter syndrome.
Keep your accomplishments close
Have a list of your success stories nearby for when you start feeling triggered by imposter syndrome. Use either a notebook, a note app on your phone, or something in your computer that lists out everything you have to be proud of.
Your list is proof you’re able to accomplish anything and it’s all right there in plain sight — you may just have to be reminded every now and then!
Say yes to new opportunities
Expand what your mind thinks is possible and try something you may not have thought about before. You build courage in yourself when you start taking risks. This courage in turn creates trust within yourself, boosting your self-esteem and confidence in your abilities.
Even if you have to dust yourself off a few times when you’re still learning a new skill, you’re building a strong connection with your abilities and finding out what you can truly accomplish.
Talk out Imposter Syndrome
Find a trusted mentor, friend, or therapist who you can open up to about the self-doubt you’re having. Imposter syndrome can feel lonely but it’s important to remember it happens to more individuals than you may realize. Your friends could be going through the same thing and you wouldn’t even know it if you didn’t say something. Talking about imposter syndrome forces you to lay all the cards on the table so you can figure out the best way to move forward.
You’re inherently worthy. That’s it. There’s nothing you need to do or anything else you need to accomplish to know you’re worthy just as you are.
However, it’s easier to say this than it is to truly believe it.
This is why internal self talk, as mentioned before, is crucial. We have to be able to reward ourselves through a pep talk or a self-care ritual when these feelings of self-doubt arise.
Here’s a short exercise to gently bring yourself back to the present moment when you get thoughts of imposter syndrome:
- Take a deep breath
- Say to yourself: “I am worthy just as I am and I can overcome this hurdle.”
- Take another breath, this time with a longer exhale than inhale
- Shake it off (literally) by moving your body to bring yourself out of that negative headspace
This in and of itself is a reward – giving yourself a moment of peace and keeping your brain from wandering. You can also use rewards such as a warm bath, going for a drive with the windows down, or taking a walk out in nature. No matter what, do what you need to stay focused and remember your worth when thoughts of imposter syndrome come knocking.