That Fraud Feeling: 4 Tips for Conquering Imposter Syndrome
Ever catch yourself feeling like you’re not worthy of your accomplishments? Despite the praise you receive from friends and colleagues, do you remain fearful of your inevitable exposure as a fraud?
This pesky feeling is known as imposter syndrome, and it’s a common occurrence among both men and women at varying stages of life.
I’ve experienced my fair share of imposter syndrome, both in my full-time PR job and part-time writing role.
Here are my tips for conquering that fraud feeling, so you can quit getting sidetracked by your own insecurities and stay focused on slaying your goals.
1. Acknowledge it.
When this negative internal monologue occurs, it can be tempting to try and suppress those thoughts.
However, it’s important to initially acknowledge these feelings of self-doubt. Take notice of when they commonly occur, and in which particular situations.
Identifying common patterns can help you pinpoint where you need to reframe your mindset.
For me, I’ve found that imposter syndrome tends to rear its ugly head when I’m balancing multiple projects at once.
During these high-stress times, I often feel pressured to “prove myself” as some kind of superwoman who can seamlessly handle everything that comes my way.
This can result in me overextending myself, and neglecting my mental health and personal relationships in the process.
Does this self-induced pressure sound familiar?
Nancy Behrman, Founder and President of Behrman Communications, suggests implementing small changes for a better sense of balance.
“I now check my messages every twenty minutes, instead of five," says Behrman.
Regardless of where your self-doubt traps occur, it’s important to be conscious of them.
I now remind myself that it’s okay to say “no” to unrealistic requests and timelines, and to never feel guilty about making myself a priority.
Imposter syndrome can cause you to put impractical expectations on yourself, and sometimes you need a little reset to bring you back to reality.
2. Recognize your accomplishments.
Throughout our proactive goal-setting and consistent project planning, we’re in a constant state of pressure to reach that next turning point in our career or business.
This can often lead to imposter syndrome, as we begin second-guessing our capabilities and wondering if we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.
When you catch yourself fixating on how far you have to go, start reminding yourself of how far you’ve come.
Observing your successes can serve as a friendly reminder that you've accomplished much more than you thought you could when starting out.
While goal-setting and planning should never be neglected, these practices shouldn’t serve as further fuel to beat yourself up.
Regularly incorporate your growth journey into the conversation, and watch the self-doubt begin to disintegrate.
3. Cut out comparisons.
Imposter syndrome can often arise from viewing others’ accomplishments, and automatically comparing them to our own.
When we get too preoccupied with outside success stories, it can be detrimental to our own development.
Rather than feeling inspired and motivated as originally intended, we begin to feel discouraged and self-conscious about our own direction.
Instead of obsessing over menial components like follower counts and number of likes, remind yourself of the big picture.
Think about the main purpose you’re working toward, and focus on the objectives that will get YOU to the point – regardless of what everybody else is doing.
When you make yourself your own competition, you’ll feel more secure in your ability to spearhead your success.
And that “doing me” mentality will do wonders for your confidence.
4. Act the part.
I was listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast recently, and she said something that really resonated with me.
She mentioned that her students often ask her for tips on how to truly “stand out from the saturation."
However, she explained that this is the entirely wrong way to approach your business.
Porterfield explained that today's biggest successes never worried about how to expand their reach or gain more fans. They simply plowed through, and behaved as if they had already "made it."
In our current age of Instagram influencers and YouTube stars, imposter syndrome is typically inevitable.
However, the power to progress often lies in our attitude. We can complain about the competition, or we can exert the influence that we hope to have.
And that confidence in our expertise is anything but fraudulent.