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5 surprising ways to turn imposter syndrome into your greatest ally

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overcoming imposter syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a common phenomenon that we all experience at some point in our lives. It is associated with feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness and inadequacy. These feelings arise from our self-perceptions: what we believe about ourselves.

Our self-perceptions are in turn influenced by our immediate environment. For example, if you experienced verbal abuse as a child, it can affect how you see yourself. In most cases, this experience can lead to Imposter Syndrome.

Nevertheless, Imposter Syndrome can be a powerful tool that contributes to your success. That is, you can use the feelings of Imposter Syndrome to your advantage. But the question that needs to be answered is, “How can my self-doubt become a tool for my success?” Keep reading to find out.

5 common lies that reinforce imposter syndrome

Research has shown that about a third of young people suffer from imposter syndrome. A similar survey found that 70% of people in the country are likely to know each other at some point in their lives.

You would be shocked to know that highly successful people like Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein add up to this estimate.

“The exaggerated appreciation for my life’s work makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel compelled to regard myself as an involuntary fraud” – Albert Einstein

In short, a cheater’s feelings are not unique to you. Over time, that feeling of unworthiness is reinforced by our past experiences. We have come to believe these experiences and lies over time. So in this section we’ll debunk some common lies that reinforce feelings of self-doubt.

Lie #1: Mistakes are for amateurs

Get this; Even the most talented people have room for improvement. What this tells you is that mistakes are part of the learning process, and this is how we grow. It should never be interpreted as a sign of inefficiency. Mistakes happen so we can learn from them and adapt.

Lie #2 Being a beginner is just as good as being incompetent

Just because you’re a beginner at something doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t deserve to be in the room. It just means you have to be willing to show up, learn, and take action.

Lie #3 You need more experience to get started

Experience does indeed help you move forward. But the truth is, you may never have all the experience needed to get started. But you have to start anyway.

Lie #4 Perfectionism

The idea that we have to be 100% perfect in everything reinforces the feeling of inadequacy. Especially because the pursuit of perfection is far-fetched.

Embracing imperfection creates growth, resilience and more authentic self-expression.

Lie #5 Not recognizing your victories is the same as being modest

This is a very common one. In the name of modesty, we quickly shrug off our small and big successes. There’s nothing wrong with modesty. But when it becomes an excuse to discredit your abilities and clear victories, then it is painful.

Consider this;

Why not feel like an imposter while watching your favorite Netflix series? Or when you do other fun and less important things. Something to think about, right?

But you can trust that annoying voice in your head to pop up when something good happens. This could be when you have just been assigned to a big project or promoted, or when you are trying to apply for a new role.

If you notice that in every scenario it is necessary to step out of your comfort zone. And the ‘awkward’ situations can bring you great success.

In this way, it becomes clear that the feelings of imposter syndrome are a signal of change and growth. An interesting and scientifically based way to flip the script is to embrace the feelings of imposter syndrome. If you think about it, the presence of these feelings indicates that you are trying new things.

5 research-backed tips for dealing with imposter syndrome

Based on research, there are simple ways to deal with imposter syndrome. In this section we will talk about practical ways to escape the self-destruction of imposter syndrome.

1. Practice mindfulness

When self-doubt arises, you need to take control. To have the upper hand, this is what you need to do; Take a deep breath. Think about this; If they gave you the role, it means they trust you enough to perform. Guess what? That only happened because you killed it.

2. Give yourself some credit

Give yourself more appreciation for everything you are and everything you have been able to achieve. Even as a beginner, taking the steps toward growth is worth celebrating.

3. Take action

The easiest way to build confidence in yourself is to take action. The action here is to do what it takes to become the person you want to be. Every action, every trial, failure and victory helps you build competence.

4. Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a powerful technique that has its roots in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is how it works; Identify and catch those thoughts that make you feel like an imposter. Thoughts like “I got lucky” and “I’m not qualified for this,” and so on.

Now consider the evidence that contradicts these negative thoughts. For example, if you think your success is due to luck, challenge this by recognizing your skills and successes. Even if you’re still learning the ropes, acknowledge the fact that you’re taking the necessary action.

Developing a growth mindset will help you learn from your mistakes, instead of beating yourself up about them. It is important to understand that your failures or mistakes provide an opportunity for growth.

The feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome often linger if you don’t get past the “thinking” stage. The moment you take action despite your feelings, the syndrome explodes.

What you do at that moment proves to yourself through actions that you know what you are doing. If you don’t have the required experience, that’s no problem. What can you do to get one? Start training, practice and keep learning.

Honestly, you will always feel like an impostor until you overcome the stress and self-doubt. And how do you do that? By taking action.

However, it is important to understand that overcoming Imposter Syndrome is a gradual process. As you practice mindfulness, take action, and celebrate your victories, you will realize the truth: you are not an impostor. You are human, you learn and grow on your way to becoming the person you want to be.