Have you ever crossed the finish line you’ve set for yourself and suddenly felt a seed of doubt about whether or not you deserved that victory? Say hello to what they call “imposter syndrome” popping in to rain on your well-deserved parade. Imposter syndrome manifests alongside our success, causing us to doubt ourselves and what we’ve achieved, to the point that we question the road we took to get there. If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, you might be feeling like a fraud, or maybe you’ll think you just got lucky on your path to success, diminishing all the hard work you’ve put in along the way.
Here’s the truth: you worked hard to get to where you are, and you deserve every minute of success you’re experiencing. Still not convinced? We’re here to help. Trust us… We’ve been there, girl. Success will feel so much sweeter if we can identify imposter syndrome as it creeps into our lives, and then say “buh-bye” as quickly as possible. The result? Never doubting our accomplishments, actually getting to celebrate our success, and acknowledging all the pieces of hard work it took to get there.
With a few mantras and techniques in mind, we can conquer imposter syndrome once-and-for-all and welcome our achievements with confidence, because we’ve earned it!
Even the most accomplished individuals can find themselves at the top and feel like they don’t deserve to be there. Studies suggest that up to 70% of people have suffered from imposter syndrome. The reality is, imposter syndrome is a symptom of success, and the more success you experience, the more these feelings might show up. Unfortunately, women and minorities are more likely to experience imposter syndrome because of the status quo. Among leadership teams, you may look around you and not recognize yourself among your peers. In those moments especially, it’s very easy to doubt whether you belong there. The solution? An evolution of what leadership looks like! The more women and minorities go after what they want, the more diversity we’ll see reflected at the top.
The people who know and love you the most are ready and willing to support you through these moments. As scary as it sounds, expressing any fraudulent feelings you have to someone you trust will allow you to sort through these feelings in a safe space. Don’t process your feelings alone, open up to someone who is going to remind you of your strengths and provide some much-needed validation. Part of imposter syndrome is that it can become really difficult for you to accept or believe in any praise that you receive, so by talking things out with someone who knows the REAL you, you can practice accepting praise you can believe in.
Okay, this might be hard to swallow… you ready? Consider this--what you’re feeling may not be 100% accurate. That might sound invalidating but stick with us for a minute. Really settle into that feeling of imposter syndrome for a sec. Now, what facts or evidence support those feelings? You might be surprised that you can’t support those feelings with cold, hard facts!
Challenge the feelings that are accompanying your imposter syndrome. So you’re wondering, “Do I deserve this?” Well, think about the time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears that have brought you to where you are. Doesn’t that show some effort?! You didn’t just magically arrive at where you are! The proof you need is in the steps you took to get to success. It’s harder to argue with facts than it is to argue with feelings, so lean into the facts.
And if you’re coming up with every reason to believe it’s the truth, take a step back and imagine if one of your besties was coming to you with this same struggle. What would you tell her? If there were no facts to support her self-doubt, of course you’d lift her up and tell her how awesome she is!
Women are super susceptible to excusing their accomplishments, which diminishes their value. So don’t downplay… time to celebrate, babe! The best way to champion yourself through the doubts you experience from imposter syndrome is to celebrate your wins every small step of the way, allllll the way to the finish line. Validate your victories by sharing your wins with others! You won’t tarnish your humility by being proud of yourself and sharing your success with your support system. When you relish in those positive moments, you’re less likely to question where you’re at.
On the flip side, don’t fear your setbacks. If we allow them to, the obstacles we encounter can feel like a win for imposter syndrome. Instead, focus on your value and your worth, not perfection. If we fear failure, we’ll never experience the growth that comes from the challenges we face. Try to face your challenges head-on, and push past them, because those instances are pivotal learning opportunities.
We can be more confident in our achievements by being more confident in ourselves, and confidence has a lot to do with the way we speak to ourselves. You can improve your internal dialogue (and in turn, your self-confidence) by taking a look at our blog The Golden Rule Reversed: Treat Yourself the Way You Want to be Treated. But also remember to listen to your external dialogue. Be mindful of the way you talk about yourself in casual conversations and off-hand comments. Step into your power by letting go of disempowering words from your vocabulary and start reframing your language to embody self-love from the outside in!
In the meantime, avoid comparing yourself or your journey to anyone else. No two peoples’ experiences are the same, so your path to success should be as beautiful and unique as you are.
Imposter syndrome can become detrimental to our future and keep us from going after the things we want. But if you adopt some of the tactics above to become more mindful of those negative thoughts and feelings, and push through self-doubt by practicing self-love and appreciation, nothing will stand in the way of all your endeavors. Stress less, girl, you deserve this success!