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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you’re the wrong person for the job or that you were prompted by mistake? Have you ever felt like you are the only one that isn’t getting it or that you have to work long hours to prove yourself? These are some of the thoughts that may signal you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is defined as having self-doubt around your skills, worth, accomplishments, and abilities. If Imposter Syndrome goes unchecked, it can decrease confidence and motivation and increase stress and burnout. It can also have serious impacts on mental health as you are constantly telling yourself that you are not good enough. If you feel like you struggle with Imposter Syndrome, check out 5 tips below to help overcome it.

  1. Create awareness around your thoughts. You can’t hit a target you cannot see, so begin by identifying how Imposter Syndrome is showing up in your life. Are you holding back in meetings telling yourself “if I speak up, they will see that I’m a fraud.” Are you avoiding pursuing a promotion because you feel like you’re not good enough even though you check significant boxes on the job description? Identify it and own it. If you don’t own that you’re having feelings of Imposter Syndrome, you can’t control it.

  2. Choose a stop word. Once you have identified the situations or thoughts that are contributing to your own Imposter Syndrome, choose a stop word or words. A stop word is a word that you can use to interrupt your thoughts before you spiral out of control. For example, if I find myself saying that some other speaker or coach will do something better, I say, “not today,” and stop the thoughts. I do not continue down the thought shame spiral. This may take a few times before you’re able to stop the thought and that’s totally okay, just keep trying!

  3. Own your accomplishments and experience. Create your own success list or great list. If you are unfamiliar, a great list is a running list of all of the experiences, successes, and skills that you are most proud of. Write this list and continue to build on it as you grow. When you have a great list you can reference it to build confidence before going into situations that can trigger your Imposter Syndrome or use it when you find yourself going down the fraud rabbit hole.

  4. Differentiate your truth from the truth. What are you telling yourself that is creating Imposter Syndrome? Chances are it may be true to you but not the truth. For example, if you tell yourself “when I make a mistake they see that I’m a fraud,” whereas in actuality when you make a mistake, someone may just see that you are growing, instead of seeing you as a fraud. The key here is to fact check your thoughts. What evidence do you have to support the thought? If you lack evidence, that could be a sign that you’re listening to your truth, not the truth.

  5. Set work boundaries. Many people that suffer from Imposter Syndrome also happen to be workaholics. These individuals are guided by the belief that if you keep working long hours, you will eventually prove to yourself and everyone around you that you are good enough. However, these long hours are likely creating more stress and burnout which actually push you further into feelings of not-enoughness.

If you want more tools and support around Imposter Syndrome, don’t hesitate to schedule a complimentary coaching session here. You are not alone and I have helped many professionals overcome Imposter Syndrome so they can feel more confident in themselves.

Jenn DeWall is a life and leadership coach and speaker based in Denver, Colorado. She empowers leaders to step into their confidence, so they can be the best leader they can be.


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