Imposter Syndrome — Where It Comes From & How to Beat It

Have you ever felt like a fraud?

Like you didn’t belong?

Like your success might have been…a mistake?

When you begin to actually achieve your goals, Imposter Syndrome can start to creep in. Psychologists Suzanne Imes, PhD, and Pauline Rose Clance, PhD define Imposter Syndrome as the “phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.”

Sound familiar? Let’s discuss.

Where does Imposter Syndrome come from?

1. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is often what lies at the roots of Imposter Syndrome — if something isn’t done perfectly, how could you be an expert? But in reality, perfection is not required. The feeling of doing great things, but never perfect things, can lead to a nagging sense of being a fraud in whatever industry you’ve succeeded in.

2. Lack of experience

Maybe success feels uncomfortable, or you feel like you don’t deserve it just yet. If you’re new to the game, Imposter Syndrome can be close behind your successes, no matter how great they are.

Many people who achieve big goals early on in the journey of their career/etc. may experience Imposter Syndrome due to the fact that others may take longer to achieve the same things. Examine your mindset and take note of the comparisons you’re making — they may be the root of your self-doubt.

3. Pressure from others

Sometimes the feeling of being an imposter can come from the people around you. Do your family and friends add pressure to your daily life? Do they ask for more than you’re prepared to give? Are they often difficult to please, no matter how hard you try?

Consider who you surround yourself with and the impact they have on your mindset. Maybe you need to sit down with those people and discuss their expectations. Let them know (kindly, but firmly) that this is your life, and the only standards that should influence your decisions are your own.

How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

1. Adjust your mindset

When you start to doubt yourself, remember: nobody is perfect. Not even the experts you look to for guidance. Not even the professionals that have spent decades in the industry. No one is perfect, and that is 100% okay.

Just because you don’t feel like you’re measuring up to perfection doesn’t mean you’re an imposter. If you notice self-doubt creeping in, step back and check your mindset. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you continue to learn from them!

2. Celebrate your wins

Make a habit of celebrating your wins, no matter how small. Take a moment to feel genuine pride and acknowledge your accomplishments as they happen. Ringing your own bell every once in a while is a fabulous way to remind yourself how capable you really are.

Pro tip: I literally bought my own bell to ring when something good is happening to me or around me. First of all, it’s gorgeous, and second, it’s become the signal of celebration in our household. Pick up your own bell and give it a ring whenever you have a win!

3. Continue to learn

Commit to continuously educating yourself. The more confidence you build in your skills and your experiences, the less likely Imposter Syndrome is to creep in. Confidence doesn’t appear overnight, though. Gather it where you can, add to your tool kit, and keep working towards the life you want. Imposter Syndrome doesn’t have a chance if you’re making an effort to continuously improve.

4. Trust your gut

If something comes naturally to you, trust your gut. We often experience Imposter Syndrome when we compare ourselves to others or feel that they may be more skilled or experienced than we are. But if you’re good at something, and you know that you’re good at that something, embrace it. Lean into it and trust yourself — no one knows your passion better than you.

5. Gather confidence

Look for opportunities to flex your skills and learn new things. These moments where you are able to prove yourself, both to yourself and the people around you, are what build your confidence. At the end of the day, Imposter Syndrome’s #1 enemy is confidence in yourself and your abilities.

If you never take the chance, you’ll never crush the self-doubt holding you back. Be open to new things and look for chances to develop your skillset so you can kick the nag of Imposter Syndrome for good. You are always more capable than you think — you just need the courage to show up and try.


QOTD: Have you experienced Imposter Syndrome? What helps you to get back on track and kick the self-doubt?

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