Six Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Over the last weeks, I’ve been pondering on my struggle to accept that my success is earned and that I deserve to be where I am today. I’d heard of “Imposter Syndrome,” but I didn’t think that was what I was experiencing.

I started digging deeper into this topic and learned great insights. Especially as we prepare for the greatness that lies ahead of us, it’s essential to be equipped to overcome imposter syndrome.

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome wanting to help others like me. We can only take our place in this world and enjoy where we are when we accept that we deserve the good things.

What does Imposter syndrome mean?

  • Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.
  • It’s commonly understood as a false and sometimes crippling belief that one’s successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.
  • It’s a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • It’s a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.”

How to tell if you have imposter syndrome?

  • Feeling that you have not achieved anything.
  • Doubting your accomplishments and focusing more on your failures.
  • Feeling that you are a fraud and don’t deserve to be where you are.
  • Inability to accept a compliment given to you.
  • Thinking you are less capable or qualified than your peers.
  • Feeling like you must work at 100 % and get no rest.

How to overcome Imposter syndrome

Tip 1: Own your accomplishments

You did it! We need to get into the habit of celebrating our accomplishments. Growing up in Nigeria, people were often labeled as proud or pompous if they spoke about their achievements. This is something I’ve been working very hard at unlearning.

Feeling a sense of accomplishments is needed for healthy self-esteem. Focus on what you’ve accomplished and not what you expect to have achieved. I’ve come to value my accomplishment log as it helps remind me of all that have accomplished when I start doubting myself.

Tip 2: Stop comparing yourself to others

When we start doubting ourselves and our accomplishments, the first place we go is to start comparing ourselves to others. We tend to view other’s success as more significant, or think they are more deserving than we are.

Your accomplishments are significant and deserve to be acknowledged. Stop trying to lessen the impact of the work you put in. 

Tip 3: Find mentors and a support group

It’s important to get comfortable talking to people you trust about your feelings. Sharing your insecurities can be an essential step to overcoming your imposter syndrome. There are many women out there like you doubting themselves.

Imagine the strength we can find in confiding in trusted people and accepting their commitment to support them on our journey. Also, surrounding yourself with other people who are comfortable with celebrating their accomplishments will begin to rub off on you.

Tip 4: Accept positive feedback

Are you that person that can’t take a compliment or positive feedback? Do you find yourself thinking people feel obliged to compliment you and don’t mean it?

Hearing people confirm your accomplishments and embodying it helps overcome imposter syndrome. It’s often much easier for us to accept negative feedback than positive because we don’t feel like we deserve the kind words people say to us. If you’re tempted to shoot down a compliment, remember you earned it.

Tip 5: Think about set-backs differently

When we experience some setbacks, it might be easy to beat ourselves up and doubt our previous successes. Will you be where you are today if you didn’t face some failures along the way? Seeing setbacks that you face as learning experiences and not the end of your story will help you bounce back and feel confident again.

Tip 6: Keep working on it

It takes continuous work and effort to overcome imposter syndrome. As you experience more success in life, you may have even more self-doubt. Remember the techniques that work for you and get to work. Keep aspiring for more and exploring new ways to celebrate your accomplishments.

Final Thoughts

  • You earned your accomplishments – celebrate them.
  • You belong where you are today – enjoy it.
  • You are talented and have the knowledge – be proud.
  • You deserve your success – accept it.

Great Resources

This piece originally appeared on Marie-Christin’s blog, and was republished here with permission.

Marie-Christin Anthony

Marie-Christin Anthony

Marie-Christin is a professional coach and mentor for women with particular focus on personal growth, professional development, financial empowerment and finding your purpose. Her most recent endeavor is building Mastermind groups of women who support one another.

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