6 mental steps to overcoming impostor syndrome

Overcoming impostor syndrome involves some internal reflection

Self-doubt and feeling a fraud in the workplace, also known as impostor syndrome, is often experienced by women as they enter more senior roles.

Women, already underrepresented as business leaders, can feel inferior in their positions. However, these feelings aren’t rooted in truth, but in the gender dynamics of the workplace where women may feel pressured to live up to male ideals of what leadership should look like.

Here are six tips to overcoming impostor syndrome in the workplace, and they start and end in your mind.

1. Practise self-awareness

Self-awareness will help you identify impostor syndrome. Then, you can devise strategies to manage it. Instead of getting overwhelmed with negative emotions about your status and what others might think, calmly think about what you are feeling and identify them as symptoms of impostor syndrome.

2. Talk about it with others

Sharing your feelings about impostor syndrome will help you realise that others have them too. Reach out and gain support from others and you may find they have conquered these feelings and could help you do the same.

3. Challenge negative beliefs

Impostor syndrome is but one example of a self-limiting belief that’s not rooted in fact but can limit a person’s confidence. So, really question these feelings and beliefs including how real and authentic they are. By doing so, you’ll likely realise they aren’t, which will help you overcome them.

4. Pat yourself on the back

Be loud and proud about your achievements. Remind yourself how you managed them, and don’t revert to modesty by saying it was down to luck as stating your strategies for success could inspire others too.

5. Don’t compare

All successful people have faced challenges, even if it looks seamless from the outside. Remember that you don’t know the challenges individuals have faced and their personal circumstances.

6. Failure isn’t bad

Failure is part of the learning process and leaders and role models fail too. Doing so can educate yourself and others about more effective strategies going forward. If you see failure as negative and something to always avoid, it will become fear and then will manifest as impostor syndrome.

In this article, you learned that:

  • Self-doubt and feeling a fraud in the workplace are symptoms of impostor syndrome
  • Calling out these feelings as inauthentic can mean they lose power in your mind
  • Reaching out to others who have experienced it can help you in your struggle
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