Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite having clear proof of their competence, those with imposter syndrome attribute their success to luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they're more intelligent or competent than they truly believe they are.
This syndrome, often felt by women, can be debilitating in personal and professional life and can hinder career progression. If you identify with these feelings, here are four strategies you can use to tackle imposter syndrome.
1. Recognize the imposter feelings
The first step to tackling imposter syndrome is acknowledging its presence. When you start to doubt your abilities or downplay your achievements, recognize these feelings for what they are: impostor syndrome. Understanding that these thoughts and feelings are a common phenomenon, especially among high-achieving women, can help normalize your experience and make it easier to tackle.
2. Embrace the uncomfortable
Feeling uncomfortable or out of your depth is a natural part of growth. Instead of viewing these feelings as evidence of impostor syndrome, reframe them as signs that you're pushing your boundaries and developing new skills. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling as a part of the journey towards self-improvement.
3. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion involves being kind to yourself when you're going through a tough time, fail, or notice something you don't like about yourself. Instead of ignoring your pain or being self-critical, self-compassion encourages you to stop and tell yourself: "This is really difficult right now," and ask yourself: "How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?"
Here are some self-compassion techniques you can try:
- Mindfulness: Stay in the present moment and don’t judge your feelings.
- Self-Kindness: Be gentle with yourself instead of critically blaming yourself for shortcomings.
- Common Humanity: Understand that you’re not alone and others go through the same struggles.
4. Seek and accept help
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do when you're feeling like an imposter is to seek help. Reach out to supportive friends, family, or professionals who can provide a different perspective. It's also beneficial to find a mentor who's experienced what you're going through.
You're not alone in feeling this way. Imposter syndrome is more common than you think, especially amongst women. With these strategies, you can begin to tackle these feelings, believe in your worth and reclaim your confidence.