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  • Writer's pictureConstance Nash

How To Defeat Imposter Syndrome

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not”

-Denis Waitley

When we achieve an accomplishment, acquire a skill, start a new job, the last thing that we want raining on our parade is the voice of imposter syndrome telling us that we are fake and undeserving.

If you busted your butt to get somewhere or do something, it doesn’t seem fair to let that voice have the final say on what we’ve done.

While it is perfectly acceptable to sometimes have doubts about our abilities, especially when we are new at something, imposter syndrome speaks to having long lasting feelings of worthlessness.

If you think that you may be facing a bit of imposter syndrome, it’s time to let that voice go.

Some traits of imposter syndrome include having unrealistically high standards or expectations for yourself, increased fears that you are going to be uncovered as a fraud, a drive to hide your flaws from others, feeling like a failure, and looking only at the “negative feedback” and not the good.

The damage sustained from imposter syndrome can be rough.

When we don’t feel good enough, we tend to reject opportunities, view ourselves negatively, and experience spikes in anxiety and depressive symptoms.

The awesome thing is that there are tools to help you combat the imposter syndrome!

It’s actually a pretty common experience, so if you do experience it, you are not alone.

One of the good things about imposter syndrome is that it can serve as a guide, depending on how you look at it.

Imposter syndrome signifies that we may have some things to work out in our self-esteem.

The voice telling us not to go for something we want may just be trying to protect us from getting hurt.

Our brains are funny that way, in that they are focused on survival.

Let’s say you are about to experience something the brain identifies as unsafe- in comes the voice of “let's not do this, you are not really that qualified”. That part of us is misguided.

By recognizing our own imposter syndrome in that moment, we have the chance to do some inner-work and help that anxious part of ourselves feel more safe in facing risks and challenges.

Now, we do still have fight/flight/freeze instincts, so if you feel like something is dangerous and there is enough evidence to say that you would be in physical/emotional danger, follow your gut.

Stay safe while also acknowledging that imposter syndrome can let us know if we have tendencies leaning more toward perfectionism, negative self-talk, and can help highlight common self-defeating beliefs.

You can utilize Socratic questions to challenge those negative beliefs you have about yourself to form positive alternative beliefs.

Another way of overcoming imposter syndrome is looking for evidence to disprove it.

Think of the times you have been successful, the positive relationships you have had, the work you did to get to a certain level.

Is the imposter syndrome right in that you have no business moving up in whatever endeavor? Not at all.

Recognizing your accomplishments can help improve self-esteem and provide solid evidence that you deserve the good things in life.

The beautiful thing about improvement is that it is an ongoing journey.

Another way of combating imposter syndrome is to not think of its defeat as an end goal.

Setting perfection as an end goal is dangerous. In reality, the battle against imposter syndrome is an ongoing learning experience.

Also consider talking about your feelings with trusted companions.

Sharing where we have insecurities is a vulnerable step, but one that allows us to gain clarity, support, and dismiss distorted views of ourselves.

Plus, with imposter syndrome, we tend to hide our flaws vs taking accountability for them and working them out.

Being strong enough to declare “I am a work in progress” has the power to help push you forward.

It’s normal to feel insecure at times. Mistakes are part of the journey to success.

Just remember that you are meant to be here.

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