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  • Dr. Nancy

6 Steps To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Do you ever experience a serious doubt about your talent and skills? This is known as imposter syndrome and it’s super common. It can hold you back and stop you from reaching your full potential. And cause a lot of stress in the process!

It is not uncommon for imposter syndrome to rear its ugly head as we enter the New Year. This is a time that many of us set goals and intentions, especially around "getting healthier" and "losing weight".

Most of the time, it’s not a true reflection of what you can achieve and has a whole lot more to do with how you see yourself. Taking steps to overcome it is a hugely underrated self-love tool. Here are some tips for beating imposter syndrome for good.

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Signs of Imposter Syndrome

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, you’ll likely experience some of these signs:

● You constantly find ways to criticize yourself.

● You question whether you really have the skills, ability or talent to succeed in your career.

● You’re always expecting people in your field to call you out as a fraud who isn’t good enough.

● You feel inferior to other people in your field, especially ones that you feel are more successful than you.

● You feel stressed and anxious when you’re not working.

● You push yourself to work longer and harder to try to prove that you’re enough.

● You feel a sense of shame or guilt if you feel that you’ve failed on a project or challenge.

● You shy away from asking for help on projects because you feel that it should all be down to you.

● You’re always looking for another training opportunity to improve your skills/knowledge.

● You feel as though you still don’t know “enough”, even though you’re experienced in your role.

● You assume that everything you’ve achieved to date has been down to luck or circumstances.

Imposter syndrome is often related to the workplace. However, its impact is not reserved to those overachievers climbing the corporate ladder. It can affect anyone setting out to achieve a goal or make a change in their daily habits.

What causes imposter syndrome?

Sometimes, the problem is linked to what you expect from yourself. It’s super common to have really high standards that you’ve set for yourself. And if you don’t meet that level of expectation, you immediately go into self-criticism mode.

The end result?

You doubt yourself and assume that you’re not good enough.

Even if high expectations aren’t the culprit, your thought processes are heavily involved. With imposter syndrome, you struggle to value your worth. Often, you’ll compare yourself unfavorably to other people. The common denominator here? You’re not confident enough in yourself and your skills.

How to beat imposter syndrome for good

So, what can you do to say goodbye to imposter syndrome forever? The solution involves reframing your thought patterns.

1. Stop negative thoughts in their tracks. When you catch yourself in self-criticism mode, bring out the positive affirmations. This teaches your brain that you’re not an imposter.

2. Recognize that perfect isn’t always possible. If you’re a perfectionist, it can be hard to feel any pride or satisfaction even if you achieve your goal. Chances are, you probably feel as though you could have done something better. Take a step back and recognize that you don’t have to be perfect and your best is probably more than good enough. And if you mess up, don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone makes mistakes; look at them as something to learn from instead!

3. See yourself a work in progress. Having imposter syndrome can mean that you’re never happy with your skills and knowledge. This can leave you feeling that you’re not smart enough or skilled enough to keep up with the competition. Turn this thinking around and see yourself as being in transition. If there are any genuine gaps in your skills, you can address these. Most of the time, it’s a confidence crisis.

4. Accept praise and compliments. Next time you receive some praise for your work, don’t brush it off or dismiss it. Accept it and believe it. It can be very helpful to save compliments to look at in the future. Writing them down makes them more powerful. You can use the compliments you’ve received in the past to remind yourself of what you can do. Look at this compliments file when imposter syndrome strikes!

5. Don’t rely on external validation. Are you constantly seeking validation from others to prove that you’re good enough? This is common with imposter syndrome and it can fuel the self-doubt if this isn’t regularly dished out. Looking within yourself for validation can be much more powerful. Any validation you get from other people will just serve to reinforce your own beliefs.

6. Ask for help if you need it. There’s absolutely no shame in getting support when you need it. And it definitely doesn’t make you a lesser person. Teaming up with someone else can give you a fresh perspective. It can often help them too.

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