10 Steps to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

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What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Do you feel like you don’t belong, or you don’t deserve your achievements?

Most people are familiar with the term Impostor Syndrome. It's that feeling of inadequacy and constant worry about being exposed as "not good enough". For some, it is a mild discomfort while for others it can be debilitating.

If you have these impostor feelings - chronic self-doubt, lack of self-esteem and often feel like a fraud you’ve probably experienced Impostor Syndrome.

RESEARCH STUDIES in The International Journal of Behavioral suggest 70% of people, often high achieving women, lack self confidence, have a fear of being found out and experience impostor syndrome at some point during their working career.

If you suffer from Impostor Syndrome it is often driven from a sense of self doubt so instead of attributing your success to your skills, you might downplay your achievements and think you've just been lucky.

As a Hypnotherapist and Confidence Coach, I’ve helped many high achieving women overcome Impostor Syndrome.

Signs Of Impostor Syndrome

Have you been carrying out any of these behaviours?

Being a perfectionist

You may set high goals for yourself, which can lead to a feeling of failure when mistakes are made. Perhaps you believe you’re not as good as other people and must hide your flaws to avoid being discovered.

You may have a fear of failure when an opportunity arises, thinking “I can’t do this! I don't deserve it." And then wish for the opportunities to pass or withdraw altogether.

You credit your success to luck

You downplay your success because you think luck has had more to do with it than personal merits. You have a feeling of inadequacy. You believe someone will find out or see the truth if they get close to you, which is why people often avoid intimacy and give up on relationships before they even start them.

You may have a hard time receiving praise because it reminds you of your shortcomings.

You find it hard to recognise success

Instead of celebrating your accomplishments, you feel like a fraud and worry that others will see as a the truth about your skills and abilities.

The fear of failure

Due to a fear of failure, you may set overly difficult goals or be disappointed when those goals fail. Or perhaps you fear tasks because you feel they are too difficult.

Failure is not an option, it's the only outcome and you're convinced that every single task you undertake will be a disaster. You often have low expectations for yourself because of this belief system.

You are reluctant to ask for help

You might deliberately avoid asking for help, because you believe it will make you look incompetent. This leads to you feeling like you’re an impostor and can hinder your confidence to pursue new opportunities.

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10 Steps To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

You can take steps to increase your confidence and overcome the feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome before it starts to affect your mental health.

1. Accept feelings of being an impostor

Recognise when you feel like a fraud start acknowledging that it is a normal response.


2. Acknowledge limitations and set smaller goals

It's important to recognise your limits and not try to do things that are outside of what you can accomplish at the time. It is necessary for us all, especially if we feel like an impostor, to know when we have done our best work and be satisfied with it.

Instead of setting impossibly high standards, set smaller goals so you can enjoy the process. Using coaching tools to track your progress and increase your self esteem as you achieve them.


3. Understand the root of your anxiety

Understand the cause of the issue. Why do you think you feel like you don’t fit in? Is it due to a fear of failure? Do you believe that you don’t deserve success?

If you know the root of your anxiety, then it can help to take steps in order to overcome this. Set achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Setting manageable goals that are achievable will give us a sense of accomplishment when we reach them. Celebrating your successes is important because success will breed belief in your own self confidence and ultimately stop you feeling like an Impostor.


4. Ground yourself in facts, rather than feelings

When overcome with the feeling of being a fake, it’s helpful to remember your qualifications. Maybe you got this new job because you are qualified enough. Remember your successes and accomplishments.

Shift your thoughts and instead of telling yourself you don’t deserve success, think about how much work you put in and be proud that success came your way.


5. Ask yourself if that thought helps or hinders you

Does feeling a fraud hinder or help?  Who do you want to be? What would your life look like if the feeling of being an Imposter was replaced with a feeling of pride?

When we feel out of place, or unworthy, it’s often because our thoughts about ourselves don’t align with how others see us. Your thoughts about yourself can be changed. You don’t have to live with these negative feelings forever.


6. Own your accomplishments

Using self hypnosis you could replace the feelings of being an Impostor with more positive and nurturing thoughts about yourself and your accomplishments.

So you take full ownership of your successes. Dont say "it was luck" or "It was because X helped me."


7. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as the “perfect time” and Keep in mind that you'll have to start somewhere

No matter what it is that you are working towards, the time will never be perfect. Instead of waiting for a better moment to take action or opportunity, seize them now and focus on making your moments count.

Starting something new is always difficult, and there will be difficult times along the way. Remind yourself that we all have to start somewhere and it doesn’t mean you are a failure if things don’t go your way.


8. Accept that it’s okay to make mistakes so Don't let fear stop you from taking risks

It’s impossible to take every step perfectly. Accept that it is okay to make mistakes and remember that they are a sign of progress, not a setback.

Focusing on what may go wrong does nothing but keep us stuck where we are. We often fear failing and this quells our creativity. Learning to embrace mistakes in order to better learn is beneficial for success and creative expression. Learn to recognise that we all make mistakes and start to use them as a learning opportunity.


9. Get Support

Choosing to receive support when you suffer from impostor syndrome. It is natural to have feelings of inadequacy and impostor syndrome. It may seem like other people are just more capable, but you will notice that all humans experience these feelings to some degree or another at one point in their lives.

So share your thoughts with people who are supportive and understanding so you recognise your feelings as a normal reaction.


10. Share your achievements

Be proud and share your successes and accomplishments with others, especially when they are people you trust or admire in some way. Hearing that we have been successful from someone else can help us gain the confidence we need to keep going.


Can You Help Impostor Syndrome?

It is natural to have feelings of inadequacy and impostor syndrome from time to time. However if they are taking over your life you might like to try Impostor Syndrome Hypnotherapy & Coaching. This could help with the self-doubt, anxiety or embarrassment that often comes with this condition so you are no longer held back from living your life to your full potential.

During a Hypnotherapy session, we would work to find the root cause of these impostor feelings and address them. We do this with a variety of hypnosis, NLP and coaching techniques that can help unlock hidden beliefs and sometimes memories in order to change them and help you to make significant life changes. With my CONFIDENCE BREAKTHROUGH PROGRAMME, you could also learn skills for building your self confidence and self-awareness as well as tools for staying motivated when things don't go quite to plan.

I look forward to hearing from you

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