Ask anyone at your work, and they’ll say you’re excellent at your job— you’ve even received accolades and recognition from management. But deep down you feel like a complete fraud—that your accomplishments are the result of serendipitous luck. If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone— research says that 70% of people experience what’s known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
While it’s not a disease and certainly not unusual, it can be a hot mess of harmfulness, causing:
- Stress—“Now they want me to present to the whole company!
- Unease—“There’s no way I’m going to live up to these expectations!”, and
- Burnout—“Sooner or later they’ll discover it’s not raw, natural talent—I must work even harder and longer to keep up appearances.”
So what can you do to combat Imposter Syndrome and thrive in spite of it? Here are five effective strategies:
1. Quiet Your Mind
Ever stopped to notice how noisy your mind is? The constant chatter and self-deprecating thoughts make it difficult to focus and gain perspective about work and life. Take a moment for yourself each day to stem the flow and reach a place of calm where you can breathe, get your heart-rate steady, and see things clearly.
2. Identify the Confidence Culprit
Now that your mind is calm think objectively about what’s shaking your confidence. Is it your new job title? A high-level meeting you’ve been invited to? A high-stakes project you’ve been asked to lead? Write it down, and then list all the thoughts you’re having about it. Don’t censor yourself, just let it all out.
3. Share Your Thoughts with a Trusted Friend
Opening up to a trusted friend helps to distinguish between your perception and the reality of the situation. Plus it can help relieve pent-up feelings and emotions—not to mention, there’s a good chance that trusted person has experienced something similar, making you feel less alone and increasingly part of a large secret club!
4. Create an Accomplishments Box
Record and fully acknowledge each of your achievements—from “Nailed that work presentation” to “Got my tax done!”—count them all. One fun way is by writing them down on a small piece of paper, folding it up, and putting it in a physical ‘Accomplishments’ box—hello tangible evidence!
5. Turn Your Inner Critic Into a Coach
Start to change your thinking patterns by turning your inner critic into a coach. 1. Identify which personal strengths contributed to an achievement or accolade. 2. Get clear on what personal intention or values you brought to a project or success. 3. Make a note of what you learned along the way that you will take into future projects.
While we might not be able to banish imposter syndrome entirely, with the right change in mindset, support from a healthy lifestyle, and using the above strategies, you can start to thrive again, enjoy your achievements, and rebuild confidence in some simple truths—you are worthy, you are enough, and your talents and ideas are worth sharing. Period.