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5 Tricks to Overcome Imposter Syndrome – Own your Success

Posted: 03 October 2018

No matter how good you are at your job, there may be times during your career when you experience feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. Counter to what you might think, the more successful you become, the more likely you are to feel like you don’t deserve it. Imposter Syndrome is a common side-effect for high-achievers – putting your accomplishments down to a fluke rather than your skills and hard-work, being overly critical of yourself, and feeling like it’s only a matter of time before people find out you’re a fraud and are actually incompetent.

It’s natural to feel this way from time to time, but you’ll never truly progress if you don’t own your achievements and acknowledge all that you’re capable of. These tricks will show you how to overcome Imposter Syndrome and step into the life you deserve!

1. Retrain your brain

A constant tirade of negative, self-destructive thoughts can eat away at your confidence. When you suffer with Imposter Syndrome, you may feel anxiety over being given more responsibility or tackling big projects, and then feel even more anxiety on top of this because your brain tells you can’t do it, that other people are so much smarter/more qualified/more experienced than you, that it will all go horribly wrong and you’ll be exposed as a phony. Though thoughts like this can be crippling, once you recognise that thinking in this way is simply a habit, you can work on breaking that habit.

Every time you experience these thoughts, be aware of them cropping up, and actively challenge them. When your brain tells you ‘I’ll never be able to do what’s expected of me’, take a moment to replace that thought with something like ‘That’s not true. There’s nothing to fear, and I will do a great job on this’.

2. Stop being so hard on yourself

If you’re the type of person who readily puts themselves down, and is their own worst critic – especially when you’ve made a mistake – you can end up getting stuck in a vicious cycle of self-deprecation. Be kind to yourself, reflect on all the positives and everything you’ve achieved that has got you to where you are today – your success isn’t accidental, it didn’t happen as if by magic – you put in the effort and made it happen so give yourself some credit!

3. Pin down the source of your doubts

What is it that makes you doubt your abilities? Are you new to this role or the industry? Are you put off by how confident/competent you perceive your colleagues to be? Have you just been promoted and feel unsure of whether you’re up to the job? Simply understanding where you feel your weaknesses lie can help you put a positive spin on it and feel more confident in your abilities.

4. Respect other people’s judgement

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the person who gave you the opportunity in the first place. They didn’t make a mistake – they hired you on purpose! Just because you sometimes struggle to see your own worth, it doesn’t mean that others feel the same. They clearly saw the potential and value that you possess, so trust in their better judgement!

5. Change the words you use

By using words which are more assertive and positive, you’ll start changing your perception of yourself. Be definite, don’t simply say ‘It could be…’ or ‘I think it might be…’, say ‘based on my research, this is what I found’.

Don’t let fear of failure prevent you from living the life you deserve – appreciate all the effort and hard-graft you’ve put in, take responsibility for your ambition and determination and everything that YOU have done that’s resulted in your success, and give yourself a big ol' pat on the back – you’ve earned it!

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