Updated: Apr 24
I'll be honest. This month has been a real gut-puncher. My self-confidence has been teetering between drowning and falling off a cliff. It's not the first time I've felt like this, and it probably won't be the last. As someone who has struggled with feelings of self-doubt throughout my life, I am all too familiar with the "I suck" mentality.
The first time I was exposed to the term "imposter syndrome", it was like a bomb had gone off in my brain. It is characterized by persistent feelings of self-doubt, fear of being exposed as a fraud, and a sense that one's achievements are the result of luck rather than skill or hard work. I felt every ounce of that definition. On the outside, I am confident and happy, but on the inside, I often feel the fear that I'm not good enough crashing in on me like waves on the beach. Pushing and pulling me until it wears me down and struggling to believe in myself or my capabilities.
Since I was already reading a Brene Brown book on my vacation, I decided to see what she had to say on the subject, and I was not disappointed in her advice. I found that imposter syndrome is a common experience that affects people from all walks of life, regardless of their achievements or status (Thank God I'm not alone in this).
The good news is that there are ways to overcome imposter syndrome and build resilience in the face of self-doubt. Here are some of my favorite thoughts.
Step One: Recognize You're Not Alone
The first step in overcoming imposter syndrome is recognizing that it is a natural human experience. Many of us feel like frauds from time to time, and that's okay. It doesn't mean that we're incompetent or unworthy. It simply means that we're human and susceptible to feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.
Step Two: Understand The Triggers and Be Kind to Yourself
The next step is to develop self-awareness and self-compassion. When we experience imposter syndrome, we tend to be very critical of ourselves, making the feelings of inadequacy even worse. Instead of beating ourselves up, we need to practice self-compassion and remind ourselves that we're doing the best we can.
Step Three: Realize that Failure Doesn't Mean You Suck
Another essential step in overcoming imposter syndrome is to reframe our thinking about failure and success. Instead of seeing failure as a sign of inadequacy or incompetence, we need to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Similarly, we need to recognize that success is not the result of innate talent or luck but rather the result of hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks.
Step Four: Find Your Cheerleaders
Building a support system is also essential in overcoming imposter syndrome. We need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us, support us, and encourage us. We should seek out mentors and role models who can offer guidance and perspective as we navigate our careers and personal lives.
Step Five: Grow. Grow. Grow.
Finally, it's important to cultivate a growth mindset and embrace the journey of learning and growth. With a growth mindset, we view challenges and obstacles as opportunities to learn and improve rather than threats to our self-worth. We recognize that growth and learning are ongoing processes. We don't have to have all the answers or be perfect to be successful.
Overcoming imposter syndrome might not be easy for some of us, but recognizing the feelings and creating a safe space to overcome them can be the difference between success and total feelings of failure. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments and skills. It is easy to dismiss your achievements as luck or downplay your abilities when experiencing imposter syndrome, but reflecting on what you have accomplished can help you build confidence and overcome self-doubt. Just keep reminding yourself, YOU DON'T SUCK!