how to overcome imposter syndrome

5 Tips on How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

With the increase of women in leadership roles, there is also an increase in imposter syndrome cases amongst these emerging leaders.

Even the most successful and accomplished women in leadership suffer from imposter syndrome, who doubt their own skills, accomplishments and even their credibility, feeling as though they will eventually be ‘found out’ as frauds!

This way of thinking is hard to escape, and it can be exhausting to go through life doubting your own abilities and the legitimacy of your successes. Feeling that others see you as being a ‘fraud’ and that you have somehow ‘cheated’ your way into your current position in life takes its toll. So how can you learn to accept your strengths and achievements?

Here are five tips to help you learn how to overcome imposter syndrome:

Quit comparisons

It’s inevitable that you will work alongside peers who got better grades at their better school… who have more experience, more symbols of success, and who receive a greater share of praise. But comparison really does rob us of happiness and leads to feelings of inferiority, when the truth is, your peers probably feel very similar. Wherever we get to in life, someone will be more experienced, more qualified and – at least on the face of it – more successful. So, stop comparing and start thinking about your own strengths and achievements.

Think about your successes

You made your success. Yes, there is an element of luck in everyone’s path, but most achievements are down to old-fashioned hard work and commitment. So think about what you have done so far, and then give yourself a pat on the back.

Look at your language

You already praise and compliment others. Now do the same to yourself. Think about what makes you unique and focus on your authentic traits and strengths. What do you like about yourself? What have you achieved? What are you passionate about? Create a list and focus on these positives whenever you need a boost.

Embrace imperfection

Everyone is imperfect – everyone. I know I am! Embracing these imperfections takes courage but it’s also empowering. Remember that you will always have flaws – as does every single person around you – and simply work on them. By accepting imperfection, you will free yourself up to start taking chances again. Remember, if you are making mistakes, then you are challenging yourself and pushing your limits; something that will always take you further as you learn and evolve.

Get help

If you want to know how to overcome imposter syndrome, it really pays to ask for help. Let trusted colleagues and friends know how you feel. Get a mentor or coach and learn how to see yourself as they do. Consider working with a coach to learn techniques and tactics for working your way past the limitations of imposter syndrome and beginning to understand your strengths and potential. Remember, by overcoming imposter syndrome ourselves, we can also help others who are holding themselves back, creating a real feedback loop of positive power.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is imposter syndrome and who is most likely to experience it?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their skills, accomplishments, and credibility, often feeling as though they are frauds who will eventually be ‘found out’. It is particularly prevalent among women in leadership roles.

What is the first tip to overcoming imposter syndrome?

The first tip is to quit comparisons. Rather than comparing oneself with others, who may appear more experienced or successful, it’s advised to focus on personal strengths and achievements.

How does acknowledging one’s successes help in overcoming imposter syndrome?

Acknowledging your own successes helps you to realise that your achievements are not based on luck but primarily on your hard work and commitment. This reflection helps in overcoming feelings of fraudulence and reinforces self-worth.

Why is it important to embrace imperfection when dealing with imposter syndrome?

Embracing imperfection is empowering and crucial to dealing with imposter syndrome because it helps you understand that everyone has flaws. By accepting this, you free yourself to take risks and grow, recognising that mistakes indicate progress and learning.

How can seeking help aid in overcoming imposter syndrome?

Seeking help from trusted colleagues, friends, or professional coaches can provide an external perspective that affirms your strengths and potential. This support can help you work past the limitations of imposter syndrome and understand your worth more accurately.

The Value of Partnering with a Leadership Coach

Imposter syndrome can cripple even the most competent leaders, causing them to doubt their accomplishments and fear exposure as a “fraud”. A professional leadership coach can be instrumental in helping leaders overcome this syndrome. Here’s why:

Expert Guidance

Leadership coaches are skilled in helping individuals recognise their unique strengths and abilities. They can provide invaluable insights and strategies to help leaders realise their true potential, mitigate self-doubt, and bolster self-confidence.

Objective Perspective

A coach can provide an unbiased, outside perspective, enabling leaders to see situations more clearly. They can help leaders debunk the myths they’ve built around their skills and achievements, effectively combating the distortions imposter syndrome creates.

Confidentiality

A leadership coach creates a comfortable and confidential environment where leaders can express their fears and doubts. This level of openness can pave the way for significant breakthroughs in overcoming imposter feelings and mindset.

Tailored Strategies

Coaches design personalised strategies that cater to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances. These strategies can help leaders understand and manage their feelings, and eventually outgrow them.

Accountability

Coaches provide a level of accountability that can encourage consistent progress. They ensure leaders stay committed to their self-improvement goals, promoting continuous growth and learning.

Enhanced Leadership Skills

Leadership coaches can help leaders enhance their leadership skills, including communication, decision-making, and emotional intelligence. These skills can boost a leader’s confidence, reducing feelings of imposterism.

Fostering a Growth Mindset

Coaches can help leaders cultivate a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities for learning and growth rather than threats. This shift in mindset can be crucial in mitigating imposter feelings.

How Can Sarah Jones Coaching Help? 

As the founder of Sarah Jones Coaching, I am an experienced, professional leadership coach who specialises in helping individuals and organisations develop leadership skills. My coaching programmes are designed to enhance self-awareness, emotional intelligence, empathy, adaptability, systemic thinking, and servant leadership, while also promoting stakeholder engagement, innovation, sustainability, and positive social and environmental impact.

With my guidance, leaders can learn how to overcome imposterism feelings, make better decisions, build more effective teams, and create a culture of purpose, values, and impact. I have developed a training course that focuses specifically on overcoming this ubiquitous phenomenon.

The first part of this process is to discuss your unique set of circumstances to identify areas in which you excel and areas we can be improved, though a confidential and free consultation process. 

Depending on your unique set of circumstances, your tailored coaching programme could be very short and be accomplished in a few coaching sessions. In other cases, more development may be required over a longer period.  

The first step in this process is getting in touch with me.

Get In Touch

The first step in your development journey is getting a professional assessment on the what practical steps you can take to develop and improve your skillset, mindset and prospects. 

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Check out my training programme

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Imposter Syndrome Training Programme

Learn to identify the signs of imposter syndrome

Gain a deep understanding of imposter syndrome and its impact on your life and career. Explore the common thoughts and behaviours associated with this phenomenon, so you can recognise them in yourself and others.

Discover the root causes of imposter syndrome

I will work closely with you to uncover the underlying factors contributing to your imposter syndrome. By understanding the origins of your self-doubt, you can begin to dismantle its hold on you and regain your confidence.

Challenge negative self-talk and limiting beliefs

Discover powerful strategies to help you reframe negative thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back. I will guide you through proven techniques to shift your mindset, boost your confidence, and develop a positive self-image.

Overcome
self-sabotage

Many talented individuals unknowingly sabotage their own success due to imposter syndrome. I will help you identify and eliminate self-sabotaging behaviours, empowering you to take bold steps towards achieving your goals.

The are just 4 of the 9 focus areas in the training programme

imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome