5 Ways to Stop Imposter Syndrome Dead In Its Tracks (Self-Awareness)


Psst. I know your secret.

Your experience? Not enough.

All those degrees on your wall? Anyone could do that.

Those thoughts you had about how to save the company money and achieve its goals? Don’t speak up. It’s a stupid idea.

Sooner or later the world is going to figure out that you don’t really belong in the role that you are in today.

Your best bet is to fly under the radar before someone finds out.

But you see, I already know.

You suffer from Imposter Syndrome.

The Imposter Syndrome phrase was first coined from the study by Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes, titled, “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women.” They theorized that women were uniquely predisposed to the impostor phenomenon, “since success for women is contraindicated by societal expectations and their own internalized self-evaluations.”

Clance later devised a scale to help identify people with impostorism, which asked participants how much they agreed with statements such as “It’s hard for me to accept compliments or praise about my intelligence or accomplishments,” “At times, I feel my success has been due to some kind of luck,” and “I often compare my ability to those around me and think they may be more intelligent than I am.”

Sound familiar? It should. Feeling like a fraud is completely normal.

It turns out almost everyone feels this way. But no one talks about it.

It’s embarrassing. It’s exposing. It makes us vulnerable.

That’s why its ironic that one of the ways to combat these feelings is to talk about it.

So together we are going to walk through 5 ways to stop Imposter Syndrome in its tracks.

You and me, together.

1. Your thoughts are not facts. Surprise! Just because your brain thinks it, does not make it true. In fact, most of the time, the thoughts that flit through our consciousness are just patterns of thinking that have become habit.  It goes like this: I have a thought (I am not smart enough to handle this job) which triggers an emotion (anxiety) which triggers a response (I don’t speak up at meetings) which further supports my thought (I am not smart enough to handle this job.)

Step one requires us to examine our thoughts and test our assumptions. When a thought like this creeps into your head find facts to either support or dismiss it. I bet you can come up with a few examples where you were successful in making decisions in your work that provided outcomes.

2. Change the Script. This is where the “fake it till you make it” and “start each day with a positive affirmation” advice comes into play. The reason why these pieces of advice have stood the test of time? They work. Enter each day on stage to play the role you were meant to play. The more time you spend being prepared for the part, the less time you will spend looking for reasons why you didn’t deserve it in the first place. Furthermore, learn easy tricks to manage your inner critic here.

3. Find your Tribe. Surround yourself with like minded professionals that are supportive of your dreams and lift you up with inspiration. They will fortify your vision, keep you accountable and on track, and remind you of why you are so special in the first place. The funny thing is that they will appreciate the same from you.  As a result, you will rise together.

4.Find the lesson in Failure. Everyone stumbles as they grow and learn. Those that examine the lessons that come from failure are those that rise above it. What can you learn today that will guide you to act differently tomorrow? Look back at your life. Most of the great growth probably came from plans that didn’t go just so. Recognize the gift.

5.Take stock of your Success. Stop. Think. Clearly you can think back and attribute actions and contributions that you have made that have led you to your current role. Imposter Syndrome can cause amnesia.  Finally, what are the things that you are most proud of professionally? What experiences have you learned from that you feel confident teaching others about? Create a Posture Pose of Confidence and align your physical, emotional, and rational thoughts to be the best you, you can be.

As a result, you will learn to rise above Imposter Syndrome and accept you are where you are as a result of YOU!

Now that I know your secret, and you know your secret, what are you going to do?

Feeling fraudulent when you are breaking ground in an industry is normal. Feeling fraudulent as a seasoned professional is limiting. Give yourself the advice you would give a good friend.

Fake it until you make it. You are worthy. You are smart.

You’ve got this girl.

Join our Facebook Group Empowered Women, Empower Women for more tips to build confidence. No mean girls allowed.

Eternal-optimist Nursing Healthcare Administrator with a passion for leadership, and change management. Known for igniting and maintaining a motivated work culture, building strong, collaborative, influential work-teams and producing quality outcomes . Influential Leadership Speaker. Blog Author of LeadershipElevateHer.com which is dedicated to growing and empowering women leaders in corporate culture by teaching effective coaching skills to maximize the teams they are building. Independent Contributor for Huntington Post and LeadX.org.