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What is Imposter Syndrome, and How to Overcome it?

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Have you ever received a raise in salary due to your recent accomplishment of completing your higher education, or an A+ on a test but still don't believe you're worth it?

Do you ever feel that you're not qualified for your current job? Or you're frightened that people will soon realize you're a fraud and don't want to celebrate your success?

If yes, you are not alone.

The chances are that you are going through Imposter Syndrome.

Don't worry.

This isn't a medical condition or diagnosis; it's simply a little psychological problem that you can overcome with effort.

Let's look at how...

What is imposter syndrome?

It's the feeling that everyone else seems to know exactly what they're doing while you're completely lost. It is the belief that your success is solely attributable to chance rather than aptitude or credentials. You feel that you will be exposed as a phony at any minute.

People suffering from this psychological phenomenon frequently feel like "frauds" or "blowhards," and their talents are questioned.

Anyone can feel down time to time and may suffer impostor syndrome and it can be very harmful. Whether you're a high student student, a doctoral candidate, a successful actor, a musician, or a business owner, you may feel that you're lacking something, that you aren't worth it, or that it's just luck that you have made it this far.

According to research, 70% of people regardless of gender felt like impostors in some part of their careers including very successful ones.

Vanessa Edwards claims that impostor syndrome can cause anxiety, stress, and even depression, which can lead to a drop in job performance.

Imposter syndrome makes a person feel insecure and incompetent, regardless of their achievements. They don't get to truly celebrate their success because they don't believe in themselves enough to feel they are worth it.

Imposter syndrome can lead to low self-confidence and lack of belief in one's abilities, even when there is evidence to the contrary. People suffering from impostor syndrome often have difficulty internalizing their accomplishments and attribute their success to external factors such as luck or the kindness of others, rather than to their own hard work and abilities.

Imposter syndrome is thought to be more common among high-achieving individuals, and it's especially common in fields where there is a lot of competition or where people feel pressured to be perfect. It's also more common in people who have been discriminated against, suffered systemic racism or who have had to overcome significant challenges to succeed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with imposter syndrome, it can be helpful to ask friends, family, or a psychologist for support.

It can also be helpful to remind yourself of your accomplishments and try to put negative thoughts about your abilities in a positive light.

It's important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that it's okay not to be perfect all the time.

So, how to overcome imposter syndrome?

These approaches can assist you in effectively resolving imposter emotions.

1. Take pride in your accomplishments.

The praises we receive for our work are often forgotten, and we only remember the condemnation. Allow yourself to fully appreciate what is said the next time someone starts chanting your praises. Also, strive to recognize and own your appreciation. You may make a folder to keep track of joyful memories and access it anytime you feel down.

Taking pride in your accomplishments can be an effective way to overcome imposter syndrome. By recognizing and celebrating your accomplishments, you build confidence in your abilities and realize that you are capable of succeeding. It's important to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and suffers setbacks, and that it's okay to ask for help or guidance when needed.

Here are some additional strategies that may help you overcome imposter syndrome:

Seek feedback:

Seek feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors so you gain a more accurate understanding of your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Their constructive criticism is very valuable for you to overcome imposter syndrome.

Reframe negative thoughts:

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, try to reframe them in a more positive light. Instead of thinking, "I got lucky this time," try thinking, "I worked hard and earned this success."

Set realistic goals:

Set attainable goals and celebrate your progress along the way. This can help you build confidence in your abilities and feel more in control of your work.

Practice self-care:

Make sure you take care of your well being physically and mentally. This can help you feel more balanced and grounded, which in turn can boost your confidence in your abilities.

Seek support:

Don't be afraid to ask for help or support when you need it. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of colleagues, friends and family can be a great source of encouragement and motivation. So don't hesitate to talk to someone you trust.

2. Recognize your feelings

Recognize the ideas and place them in context as one of the first stages toward overcoming imposter sentiments. Begin with recognizing what you're experiencing and why you're feeling it.

Write down any feelings of inferiority or self-doubt, and be clear about why you're feeling this way.

While emotions are essential, keep in mind that they are just feelings. You may feel unqualified, but it does not ensure that you are.

3. Stop making comparisons

When you compare yourself and your personality traits to others in a social environment, you will discover some flaws in yourself that will increase your feelings of not being good enough.

One way to overcome imposter syndrome is to stop comparing yourself to others.

This is easier said than done, because it's natural for us to compare ourselves with others, especially when we see that others are successful in their careers. However, this type of comparison can have a negative impact on our self-esteem and self-confidence perpetuating the feeling of imposter syndrome.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own progress and development.

Set attainable goals and work toward them, rather than measuring yourself against the accomplishments of others.

Remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and that it's okay to be different. Celebrate your own accomplishments and recognize the hard work and dedication you put into them.

Remember that you aren't alone in feeling this way and that it's normal to have moments of self-doubt. With a little time and effort, you can learn to recognize and overcome your imposter syndrome and build a more confident and positive self-image.

Keep in mind that educated, high-achieving people are more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome. So, the fact that you're aware of it in yourself tells a lot about who you are.

4. Talk to others

Talking about your pain with a trustworthy friend or mentor might help you gain some perspective on the problem. You might be shocked at how many of your friends and coworkers share your feelings. They can help you in recognizing that your imposter sentiments are both natural and unreasonable.

Here are a few ways that discussing your feelings with others can help:

  • Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can provide validation and support. It can be helpful to know that other people are experiencing similar feelings and that you are not alone in your struggles.

  • Talking about your imposter syndrome can help you better understand and combat your negative thoughts. When you share your thoughts with someone else, they may be able to provide a different perspective or suggest alternative ways of thinking about your abilities and accomplishments.

  • Sharing with others about your imposter syndrome can help normalize the experience. Seeing that other people feel the same way can help you to recognize that imposter syndrome is a common experience and isn't due to your own shortcomings.

  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member about your imposter syndrome can give you a sense of ownership. They can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals, and encourage you to recognize your accomplishments.

It's important to find a supportive and non-judgmental person to talk to about your imposter syndrome. You may also want to enlist the help of a therapist or coach who can provide more structured support and guidance as you overcome your imposter syndrome.

5. Overcome your inner perfectionist

Perfectionism can cause people to have unrealistic expectations of themselves, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure if not met. When you learn to let go of perfectionism and accept that it's okay to make mistakes, you can begin to have more confidence in your abilities and feel less like an imposter.

Take regular pauses, use relaxation techniques, and focus on the broader picture to overcome perfectionist tendencies. You don't have to lower the bar, but altering your success criteria might help you recognize and integrate your achievements.

Here are some strategies for overcoming perfectionism:

Set realistic goals:

Instead of trying to be perfect, strive to make progress and improve. You can still set high standards for yourself, but you can also celebrate smaller successes.

Practice self-compassion:

Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes.

Reframe negative thoughts:

Instead of telling yourself that you're a fraud, try to reframe your thoughts and remind yourself of your accomplishments and strengths.

Learn from mistakes:

Instead of seeing mistakes as failures, try to see them as opportunities to learn and grow.

By working to overcome your inner perfectionist and practicing self-compassion, you can combat imposter syndrome and build confidence in your abilities.


Finally, be kind to yourself; you are here because you worked hard for it. Keep in mind that you are worth every inch of it!

So know your self worth.

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