How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome? 9 Ways To Stop Doubting Yourself And Start Thriving


Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Nine Methods For Self-Validation

Dealing with imposter syndrome is not easy, especially when you have worked hard for something, and you finally achieve it, all you feel is like a fraud. Let’s find out how to overcome imposter syndrome and the best ways of dealing with imposter syndrome. 


  • Nearly two-thirds of the workforce experiences imposter syndrome at some point.
  • There are steps you can take to overcome imposter syndrome.
  • The committee did not make a mistake and it was not luck; you earned this accolade.

Congratulations! You are selected as…. This is a prestigious honor….Less than three percent of those who apply get accepted. You should be thrilled, but you break out in a cold sweat.

You just got promoted. You had your eye on this role for a long time but knew the odds were against you. Eventually, you were selected and advanced to the new position. You want to run into hiding.

What’s going on?

What you feel is imposter syndrome (or phenomenon, depending on who you ask). The term, first coined over 40 years ago by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, was originally shown to disproportionately affect high achievers and marginalized groups such as women and underrepresented minorities.

Related: 7 Imposter Syndrome Myths You Should Know About

Later reports underscored that imposter syndrome is common in the workforce.

Logically, you understand that this suffocating feeling is imposter syndrome and a common reaction, but your body is telling you a different story.

You’re a fake; you’ll have to give it back; this isn’t real; it was luck, not your hard work or talent. These are all stories we convince ourselves of rather than dealing with the reality.

When imposter syndrome descends, here are some tips to mitigate those feelings and take back control.

9 Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

1. Create a brag box or folder

The contents of this will be photos of achievements, thank you notes, and assets that prove your accomplishments.

2. Surround yourself with the right people

Surround yourself with a team of mentors who can give you perspective and shut down the noise inside your head.

Overcome imposter syndrome
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome? 9 Ways To Stop Doubting Yourself And Start Thriving

3. Share it

As imposter syndrome is prevalent, affecting two-thirds of the workforce at some point, there is a good chance that if you share your fear, your conversation partner will relate and empathize, as they’ve been in your shoes.

Before long, you will notice that you know more people who have experienced imposter syndrome than not. The shared experience will help you put your latest episode of imposter syndrome into perspective.

4. Write it down

Often, we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We think we are not accomplishing much when in reality we complete more than we realize.

Make a list of everything you have accomplished, and you will notice that you were selling yourself short.

Related: Why Successful, Confident People Still Feel Inferior Or Incapable

5. Stop comparing yourself

Everyone is on a different journey with different constraints and cognitive loads. Therefore, stop comparing yourself to other people’s achievements. In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, the #1 executive coach, “Don’t be busy chasing what other people have.”

6. Stop striving for perfection

Perfection is a moving target. You will never achieve it, as there is always more to do. Instead of always striving for an A+, be satisfied with an A. It’s better than what most people achieve.

7. Develop a circle of amplifiers

Sometimes we don’t recognize our achievements. Curate a circle of friends or colleagues who will amplify your work so that you don’t need to. Do the same for them.

8. Visualize success

Often, we work hard toward a goal but fail to recognize when it is achieved. To combat this, identify and visualize what success will look like when it is achieved.

9. Work in draft mode

Trying to be a one-take-wonder is setting yourself up for failure. Work in draft mode with the understanding that your paper or project can be refined.

A committee of people looked through your file, past accomplishments, and future potential. They compared you to other qualified applicants and decided to award you the prize or promotion. Are you saying that their efforts are misinformed or misguided? Are you calling them fools?

Related: How To Defeat Imposter Syndrome and Bring Success Into Your Life

Our minds are adept at playing tricks on us. The success is new so we don’t know whether to be excited or fearful. Consider reframing imposter syndrome as a marker of success rather than a trigger for anxiety.

Take control of the situation, and work diligently to control what you can control. By doing so, you will be in the driver’s seat, looking at imposter syndrome through the rear-view mirror.

Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and the author of The Success Factor. She was named the #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters

Written By Ruth Gotian Ed.D., M.S.
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
imposter syndrome
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome? 9 Ways To Stop Doubting Yourself And Start Thriving

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