A photo of a woman hiding behind a trophy she's won surrounded by thought bubbles that say she's a fake or didn't deserve the award, to represent the topic of the article - 17 Amazing Ways To Overcome Your Impostor Syndrome

17 Amazing Ways To Overcome Your Impostor Syndrome

Picking up from where my pervious article on the imposter syndrome left off, I’ll be talking about the things you can do to overcome your impostor syndrome. But first, I’ll start with a quick reminder of what the impostor syndrome is, in case you haven’t read my pervious article

 

 

What Is The Imposter Syndrome?

 

Living with impostor syndrome is to live with a deep-seated insecurity that you’re not sufficiently capable, often combined with the fear they’ll be exposed as a fraud (McAllum, 2016). 

 

Therefore, people struggling with impostor syndrome will dismiss their achievements, believing instead that there must be another explanation for their success that isn’t attributed to their abilities (Sverdlik, Hall, and McAlpine, 2020). For example, they lowered their standards for me.

 

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17 Ways To Overcome Your Impostor Syndrome

 

Achievements

This is an activity that sounds easy, but for someone with impostor syndrome, it can be extremely hard to complete. All you need to do is list your achievements, no matter how small. It can be anything from cooking a new meal and not burning it to getting three GCSEs. If you’re struggling with this, which is likely if you have impostor syndrome, ask the people that know you for help.

 

A lot of clients I’ve worked with have really struggled with this. But as we spend time going through this task, asking questions, and exploring the answers, you can quickly go from having one or two achievements and turning that into 50 achievement in the course of a few sessions.

 

Own your successes

Everyone likes a bit of modesty from time-to-time, but failing to acknowledge your successes undermines your sense of self. Instead of saying you were lucky or some other such modifier you’re using to self-sabotage your achievements, take the time to acknowledge your success. In fact, get out your list of achievements and add it to the list. Or, if you prefer, write it in your journal with some additional notes about your reflection on your success.

 

Facts over feelings

One of the most common thinking errors is confusing feelings with being facts. Just because you feel that you’re not good enough, doesn’t make that a fact. Learn to recognise the difference between a feeling and what’s true. One way you can do this is by examining the evidence for the feeling so you can weight up if it’s true or not.

 

Challenge your thoughts

There are several ways you can do this. One method is to look for evidence for and against what your intrusive thoughts are telling you. Another method would be to just flip whatever the thought is telling you. So if you thought is telling you you’ll fail, you’ll start telling yourself you’ll succeed. You could even start recalling the times where you didn’t fail when you thought you would.

 

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Ignore your thoughts

This is my personal favourite, although it’s not for everyone and it’s not always easy to do. What you can try is to leave your thoughts alone. Don’t engage with them in any way, as any energy you give them will strengthen them. Instead, just carry on with what you’re doing like the thoughts are just white noise in the background.

 

Personal strengths

List your personal strengths. We all have them. For example, I may be a terrible speller because of my dyslexia, but I’m good at comparing and contrasting arguments and playing devil’s advocate.

 

Become comfortable with constructive criticism

No one enjoys being criticised, especially when it’s done in the wrong way, as I discussed in my article ‘The Hard Truth About Eating The Criticism Sandwich‘. But most criticism you’ll receive isn’t done out of malice, but because they want to help you improve. Learn to see criticism as an opportunity to grow and improve, rather than as a personal attack.

 

Say yes

Learn to say yes to new challenges and opportunities rather than staying in your safe little bubble. Growth occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone.

 

Say no

Just like it’s important to say yes when new opportunities and challenges arise, it’s also important to say no when asked to do additional work when you’re not able to take it on. Don’t let your people-pleasing impostor syndrome turn you into a doormat.

 

The picture is split in two with the top image being of a black woman accepting an award while her co-workers clap, with a thought bubble that says, "I have no idea what I'm doing". The bottom image being of a white man sitting on a bench looking at an award he'd won that's resting next to him, with a thought bubble that says, "I don't deserve this". The two images are separated by the article title - 17 Amazing Ways To Overcome Your Impostor Syndrome

 

Life

Remember that during certain times in your life and throughout your career, there will be times where you’ll need to develop new skills or have to work on your competencies (Sherman, 2013). It’s a fact of life.

 

Reframe failure

Failing is a part of life, but that doesn’t make you a failure. Treat every failure as a learning opportunity. When I was working for a substance abuse charity, we learned about harm minimisation. Using this approach in recovery, we taught our clients to look for ways to learn from any lapse or relapse. That way you can use what they learnt to avoid it happening again. So if you fail, try to find out where you went wrong, make improvements, and try again. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.

 

Seek support

Be honest about what you know and don’t know, and seek advice from people more knowledgeable in your organisation. Simply saying, “This is new for me, and I’m working hard to learn this role” can be empowering (Sherman, 2013).

 

Don’t be afraid to talk to your co-workers, managers, friends, family, or anyone that might be able to help. It’s better to seek help than to make yourself sick with worry. People will only be too happy to assist you when needed. When I was doing an IT course as part of my probation for drug possession, I spent most of my time helping other people on the course who had no IT skills. This didn’t go unnoticed and was included in my reference when I asked the teacher to write me a reference for university.

 

Forget perfection

The vast majority of time, perfection isn’t needed or expected. For almost everything we do, there is an acceptable margin we can aim for. We need to learn to be comfortable in living in that acceptable area for most tasks in our lives. If your kid asks you to play football, you don’t have to be David Beckham, just play football and have fun.

 

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Self-esteem

Just because someone is confidence, that doesn’t mean they have competence. As stated in a pervious article on self-esteem, there are lots of people like Christopher Duntsch (aka Dr Death). Just because someone presents themself as being confident, that doesn’t guarantee they have the skills to back it up.

 

Having healthy self-esteem is the sweet spot, but being over confident can be dangerous. It’s perfectly normal to find yourself in situations where you’re not as competent, and there’s nothing wrong with getting support when you find you’re self in such a situation.

 

To find out more on how to boost your self-esteem, check out my article on self-esteem by clicking here.

 

Jack of all trades

As the familiar modern interpretation goes, “jack of all trades, master of none”, isn’t really true. For starters, most experts in a given field still need to keep learning and expanding their knowledge and competency. Here’s a secret, even people considered to be top of their field will still forget a lot of what they’ve learned and have to go back and relearn stuff. Furthermore, a jack of all trades person is often more useful than someone who’s master of one thing, because they have versatility. Don’t let not being an expert hold you back. Everyone has something to offer.

 

See a job you like but don’t think you have the requirements for it, apply anyway. The worse that’s going to happen is you don’t get the job, but you won’t get the job if you don’t apply either. The worst outcome is the same outcome as not trying.

 

Validation

People with impostor syndrome often crave external validation, but benefits from external validation never lasts and never leads to happiness. Instead, look inward for validation. You can get the ball rolling by creating a list of your achievements and strength. But you also should stop seeking out other people’s opinions and put your own forward instead. Once you’ve found the strength to value your own opinion and to share it with others, don’t backpedal. Also, have the hard conversations you’ve been avoiding. Your feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. Never forget that.

 

Recognise your expertise

Make an objective and realistic assessment of your abilities and don’t just look for more experienced people for help (APA). There is nothing wrong with seeking help when needed. However, you can also put yourself forward to be a person who can help others as well. To help make that happen, an honest review of your abilities will help get you started.

 

So if someone asks for help or advice, don’t just point them in the direction of someone you think is more knowledgeable than yourself. Instead, try to help.

 

Red character from Among Us

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with impostor syndrome in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget to bookmark my site and if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, you can make a donation of any size below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

 

McAllum, K. (2016). Managing imposter syndrome among the “Trophy Kids”: Creating teaching practices that develop independence in millennial students. Communication Education65(3), 363-365. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2016.1177848 and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kirstie-Mcallum/publication/303711565_Managing_imposter_syndrome_among_the_Trophy_Kids_creating_teaching_practices_that_develop_independence_in_millennial_students/links/5a9d8ce94585155dc184bdc6/Managing-imposter-syndrome-among-the-Trophy-Kids-creating-teaching-practices-that-develop-independence-in-millennial-students.pdf.

Sverdlik, A., Hall, N. C., & McAlpine, L. (2020). PhD imposter syndrome: Exploring antecedents, consequences, and implications for doctoral well-being. International Journal of Doctoral Studies15, 737-758. Retrieved from https://www.informingscience.org/Publications/4670, https://doi.org/10.28945/4670, and http://ijds.org/Volume15/IJDSv15p737-758Sverdlik6626.pdf.

59 thoughts on “17 Amazing Ways To Overcome Your Impostor Syndrome

  1. This is so much relatable to what I wrote this week. I love that you dive into the issue of imposter syndrome. I have felt it many times in my life and in many cases I still do. The advices you shared are really valuable. Thank you!

  2. I agree! These are amazing ways to overcome imposter syndrome. I used to have imposter syndrome when I was younger. And these are the things I do to overcome it. Plus, I also try my best to avoid toxic people. Good post. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I’ve been working on most of those with my therapist lately as I struggle with imposter syndrome in anything and everything I do daily. Thankfully between the therapy and your article right here, I feel like I can have a better chance at turning some negatives into positives and hopefully gain some small victories!

  4. As usual, this is a really good article. It’ll help a lot of people, including me. I particularly, love the idea of ignoring our thoughts.

  5. This is a fantastic topic to cover, and your work and experience give you a brilliant angle on it. Imposter Syndrome is a really tricky one unless you can start to see yourself and your life in a slightly different light. The question of what you’ve achieved or what you’re good at always stumps me, but it must be incredible for someone to get stuck at one or two things, then over the course of a few sessions be able to come up with a lengthy list. Great insights and suggestions!

    Caz xx

  6. I really enjoyed this post. You gave excellent points and encouragement on this topic of overcoming imposter syndrome. Asking for help when necessary is a healthy practice. I also agree to treat your failures as stepping stones. Thank you for sharing! Great writing once again.

    Pastor Natalie
    Letstakeamoment.com

  7. I struggle a lot with giving myself credit when it comes to my expertise and learning to treat failure as a stepping stole for the future. I am slowly learning how to overcome this though.

  8. I love seeing a mix of ways people can overcome imposter syndrome, from saying yes to learning new skills to validating ourselves through what we are good at and what we are setting out to learn. 🥰 Progress does not happen overnight, but every small step counts!

  9. Thank you for including so many tips and explaining them so well! For me it’s a real struggle and I have found that working on my self-esteem is something I need to focus on a lot more. Facts over feelings is again something really important, as well as listing my achievements. I do tend to dismiss all my achievements as luck or chance while crediting anyone else.

  10. These are great tips! I’ve defintely experienced imposter syndrome with my blog, but I just remind myself that all the achievements I’ve had were due to my hard work

  11. Many will argue that ignoring one’s thoughts is easier said than done. However, i believe everyone experiences Impostor Syndrome at some time in their lifetime. You have shared some interested tips for dealing with impostor syndrome.

  12. This is such a interesting / relatable post! I believe everyone suffers from imposter syndrome at some point in their life and I think this post will come in handy when feeling like it. Thank you so much for sharing Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  13. Stepping into the facts of the situation is something I’ve always found helpful, and I’m glad a number of your tips here work that angle. Impostor syndrome, at least for me, is one of those weird feelings that wants to stay “just” a feeling, because it so often doesn’t match up with the facts. Challenging the thoughts, reframing to what you are capable of, to what you have accomplished, are all great. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I grew up in the shadow of 2 brilliant overachievers. I’ve struggled with this. I struggle with this periodically now as it is really an unlearning process. I’m a work in progress.

    Angel
    Embracing Change.

  15. Ah imposter syndrome is something I am all too aware of, but learning to overcome. I think we often downplay our success for fear of sounding arrogant or conceited, but there’s a definite line and there’s nothing wrong with showing that we’re proud of our accomplishments. I think failure isn’t failure until you ultimately give up. If you don’t succeed the first time and you continue on, then anything prior to this was a lesson.

  16. Another great post on imposter syndrome with these tips and strategies.

    I’ve heard two great bits of advice around this recently:

    1) Challenge your thoughts – a way of doing was to be like an annoying child – keep asking ‘why’ until your position breaks down!

    2) It’s okay to have weaknesses not everything needs to be addressed – as this takes time away from building on your strengths.

  17. I have been struggling with this at the moment. So great advice and tips. I will start using some of it. Thank you for sharing.

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