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How I Am Learning To Deal With Imposter Syndrome

Here are 7 proven ways to get over feeling like a fraud.

Have you ever felt like a fraud in your career or personal life? Like you have been given a career or work assignment that you are grossly unqualified for and you are just waiting on someone to call you out and say you can’t handle it? Do you feel like you are faking it and don’t feel qualified or confident in what you are doing?

You might have imposter syndrome.

What is that exactly? Well, it’s what is happening when you feel like a fraud in your position and/or when you don’t feel like you deserve what you have achieved. It usually affects us at work, but it may happen in other areas of your life as well.

I struggle with imposter syndrome. I never think I am doing a good enough job and think I don’t know enough about my field (which is a new one for me, so no wonder I feel this way).

Once I acknowledged that this is what I was dealing with, it became a lot easier to come up with ways to deal with my imposter syndrome. That has to be your first step–acknowledging your feelings of not being the best person for the job.

From there, you can take these steps to overcome your imposter syndrome:

1. Make a list of your skills and accomplishments.

When I feel less-than-confident, reminding myself that I am qualified to do my job and that I have a lot of skills helps me regain some confidence.

Keeping a list of your skills and accomplishments thus far can help you reconnect with the things you really do feel qualified to do. Doing so boosts your confidence and self-worth, two important elements in getting yourself back on track.

2. Stop comparing yourself.

I am still working on this  to be completely honest, but I try really hard not to compare myself to other people, especially when I am having a bad day. If you make it a habit to stop yourself from comparing your life to others’ when you’re having a good day, it will be easier to avoid doing when you’re having a bad day.

Oh and stay off Facebook (and social media in general) if you aren’t feeling confident–you are looking at people’s highlight reels as opposed to their everyday struggles. It’s just not worth it.

3. Learn more about your industry.

I am new to my job and industry and sometimes I feel insecure about making decisions or giving my input. When I feel that way, I try to spend some time to learn more about my industry, the best practices, current research, and what makes other companies successful.

Increasing your knowledge will make you feel more confident when it is time to make decisions or when someone asks you what you think.

4. Learn how to say thank you.

I have a very hard time taking compliments. I also have this bad habit of demeaning myself and trying to make what I did less meaningful and act like what I did wasn’t valuable when someone is just trying to acknowledge what I did. It’s a slippery slope!

In Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, she says, “Say thank you. Then shut up.” Let people compliment you! When someone says thank you or says you did a good job literally just say thank you. That is it!

5. Keep working.

I was listening to an episode of the podcast Brown Ambition and they discussed imposter syndrome. One of the podcasters said when she is dealing with it, she just continues to work hard and gain more success. That makes her feel confident and in turn quiets down the inner voice telling her she isn’t good enough.

6. Be nice to yourself.

We can be our worst critics. If I said the things I think about myself to other people I would have no friends.

Practice using affirmations or giving yourself a compliment everyday. Pretty soon, you will start to internalize those positive words.

7. Be easy on yourself.

I have to remember that I need to be my biggest fan and remember that I am a work in progress and shouldn’t want to or expect to be perfect. And you need to do the same.

BONUS TIP: Find a song or artist that makes you feel like a #boss.

When I listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade album, I feel like I can change the world. Find the song or album that makes you feel like a #boss and listen to it when you need a confidence boost. Solo dance parties may help too :).

We all need to remember that imposter syndrome is completely normal. If you haven’t ever dealt with it, you probably have friends or co-workers that deal with it on a regular basis. It’s very common, especially among high-performing individuals.

When you feel it coming on, do something to make you feel confident and like a #boss to turn it around. If you have additional tips and tricks, let us know! We love to hear from and learn from our readers.

About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.