How Can I Overcome Imposter Syndrome?

A five-step plan for reinforcing that you deserve all your achievements and success.
How Can I Overcome Imposter Syndrome?
Image credit: Luis Alvarez | Getty Images
CEO of Coco & Bubbles
4 min read
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Do you feel like you never belong and that every achievement, accolade or promotion you earn is undeserved? Well, folks, imposter syndrome is real. I can personally attest to the harmful outcomes this behavioral pattern can have on one's life. For years, I suffered in silence, and it often held me back from the goals I desired and even the money I wanted to make. My personal life and friendships suffered because I had to keep everyone at an arm's length for fear of being found out to be a "fraud." Once I realized it was my imposter syndrome manifesting, I started trying to break the pattern. 

The good news is you can indeed learn to overcome these self-defeating feelings and thoughts. Here, I'll share with you a few simple strategies for overcoming your imposter syndrome for good.

1. Acknowledge your feelings

In any sort of recovery, acceptance is the first step. That's why if you suspect you're suffering from imposter syndrome, the first and most crucial step is acknowledging your feelings.

Try to figure out why you feel that way. In my opinion, documenting your feelings in a journal is a step in the right direction. Make sure when putting down your feelings that you're as particular and specific as possible about each situation. In most of the cases, when you write down your feelings, chances are high that you'll realize your worries are baseless.

Related: 10 Successful Leaders Share Their Struggles with Imposter Syndrome and How to Overcome It

2. Understand your strengths and weaknesses

No human is perfect; we are all bound to err once in a while. By evaluating yourself through a personal SWOT analysis you learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie. And by identifying the times when you are at your best and worst, you will never have to worry whether you are fit for your roles, projects or achievements.

3. Find someone to talk to

One thing that really helped me start to overcome my imposter syndrome was finding someone I could confide in and be vulnerable with. For me, that’s my mom. I don’t care how old I get. When I’m feeling like the world is against me, my mom always knows what to say to talk me off the hypothetical ledge. Find someone you can talk to who cares about you, knows you and always has given you sound advice. It could be a family member or friend. It just needs to be someone you trust and can truly be vulnerable with. By talking through these feelings, you will often realize there are many people out there who can relate to how you feel.

More importantly, people who care about you will always show you how your fears are unfounded. Hearing positive reinforcement from people you respect is a great precursor to boosting self-esteem.

4. Visualize success

Did you know that professional athletes are trained to visualize success even before participating in their respective sporting events? Picturing yourself as a successful individual prior to your exam, presentation or any other undertaking is a great way of mitigating post-performance stress.

Always remember: We are who we think we are. That's why you should always think of yourself as a winner.

5. Avoid perfectionism

Setting realistic goals is a great way of achieving challenging goals. It is also a great way to avoid doubting yourself when the task in hand is successfully done. Always be a person who accepts honest failure as part of life.

Remember, mistakes are not something to be ashamed of. By overcoming perfectionism, you are able to appreciate your success and achievements. More importantly, you will understand how you will improve yourself next time.

Related: Don't Let Imposter Syndrome Derail Your Business

Now that you understand what imposter syndrome is and what you can do to overcome and break the pattern, don’t let it continue to hold you back. You have worked hard to earn your achievements and credentials. It’s time to start appreciating yourself when you succeed. After all, you deserve it!

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