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Conquering Imposter Syndrome: Strategies for Overcoming Self-Doubt in the Workplace

Updated: Apr 17

Woman who has overcome imposter syndrome

FACT: Imposter Syndrome is something that everyone feels, and I mean EVERYONE.

The most confident people - and sometimes the most successful people -have that voice that pops up and tries to convince us that we don't belong, don't deserve what we have, and shouldn't be in our position.

This is a special subject for me to write about, as lately, I've had some situations in which I had major feelings of self-doubt. Ironically, I've coached others on it and felt compelled to share what I've learned about silencing the inner critic.

The good news is that understanding how to conquer these feelings can dramatically enhance your self-confidence and empower you to take on new challenges without fear.

And mastering self-talk can unlock a more confident and assertive version of yourself.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is a pattern of negative thinking. Like most thought patterns (samskaras in Ayurveda), it can be self-fulfilling.

According to this article from Cleveland Clinic:

"Symptoms of impostor syndrome include:

  • Crediting luck or other reasons for any success.

  • Fear of being seen as a failure.

  • Feeling that overworking is the only way to meet expectations.

  • Feeling unworthy of attention or affection.

  • Downplaying accomplishments.

  • Holding back from reaching attainable goals."

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Here are a few common reasons people struggle with Imposter Syndrome:

  • Reason 1: Lack of self-awareness about one's achievements.

  • Reason 2: A perfectionist mindset that never feels satisfied.

  • Reason 3: Fear of being 'exposed' as a fraud.

  • Reason 4: Difficulty accepting positive feedback.

  • Reason 5: Comparing oneself unfavorably to others.

Because Imposter Syndrome is a pattern of behavior or thinking, the cycle needs to be broken. Below are how I've succeeded in addressing this thinking and have emerged more confident.

Acknowledge Your Achievements

The first step in overcoming Imposter Syndrome is acknowledging and internalizing your achievements. This is important because it helps combat the unfounded belief that you don't deserve success.

When you start having negative thoughts:

  1. Start by listing out your achievements, no matter how small they seem.

  2. Reflect on each one and remember the effort it took to achieve them.

For instance, if you completed a major project at work, reflect on the challenges you overcame and the skills you applied. Recognize the value you brought to the table. By seeing these in black and white, you begin to counteract the false narrative of inadequacy.

Women celebrating a win

Acknowledge Things Aren't Perfect

Perfectionism is often at the heart of Imposter Syndrome.

Many feel they must deliver flawless work on the first try and think anything less is a failure. Understand that mistakes and growth are part of any successful journey. Set realistic goals and celebrate incremental progress to avoid falling into this trap.

Remember, even the most successful people make mistakes. What's important is learning from them.

In my business, perfectionism has held me back from moving forward. I keep learning and not doing because I want it to be RIGHT.

I've had to accept that sometimes the biggest failures are the most valuable business lessons, leading to your greatest successes later on.

Bottom line: Stop overthinking.


Accept and Believe in Positive Feedback

The final step is to accept and believe the positive feedback you receive. Often, those with Imposter Syndrome dismiss compliments and focus only on criticism.

Start by writing down positive feedback when you get it, and revisit these comments regularly.

Additionally, practice giving yourself positive affirmations daily. This will help reinforce your self-worth and allow you to internalize your successes.

As you get better at accepting positive feedback, you'll notice an increase in your self-confidence, affirming that you genuinely deserve your achievements and are well-equipped to handle future challenges.

Man accepting award

Ways to get over Imposter Syndrome in the moment.

  1. Understand that you aren't alone. If you feel like you are in a safe environment, share your experiences of self-doubt. You'll realize that it is more common than you think.

  2. Reframe failure as learning. When you face setbacks, write them down and what you learned from the experience, which will help reframe them. Mantra: "Every setback is an opportunity for learning"

  3. Set realistic expectations. If you get overwhelmed, step back and break your task or project into smaller pieces. Mantra: "Success is the sum of small efforts"

  4. Practice self-compassion. When you feel that inner critic coming on, acknowledge you are doing your best. Mantra: I am doing my best, which is good enough."

By implementing these steps, you'll build a solid foundation of self-belief and confidence. I'm excited to see how much stronger and more empowered you will feel as you see yourself in a new light.


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