Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a pattern of doubting one’s skills, talents, or accomplishments. It is normal to question yourself. At different times in our lives, we all have had difficulty believing that we are intelligent, professional, and competent in what we do. There may have even been a time when you felt that you did not deserve the opportunities presented and worried that everything would go wrong. Have you ever turned down a chance because of fear? You are not alone.

When we consistently do not believe that we measure up to others, we sabotage ourselves and put ourselves in the imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome can come from transition or change. When an opportunity is presented, you might ask,” why me?” reframe the thought to “why not me?” We often make the mistake of comparing ourselves to others, sometimes with people years ahead of us. This will hamper us from clearly seeing ourselves.

Ways to cope with Imposter Syndrome

  • Recognize the signs
    • Take a risk on yourself. Small, consistent risk-taking pushes us out of our comfort zones.
  • Let go of perfectionism.
    • Despite every best effort and intention, mistakes and failures are nearly impossible to avoid. Setbacks present powerful learning lessons, giving us wisdom and experience.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Track and acknowledge your successes.
    • Accountability. It doesn’t matter how small the goal is for you. Celebrate the win. When I started to learn how to run, it was a small goal: I would run for ten seconds. If you are not a runner, allow me to explain. Learning to be a long-distance runner to run 5K, 10K, or even a marathon is about building your endurance, and it starts with learning how to breathe while running. After I met the goal of being able to sprint for ten seconds without huffing and puffing, I would continually extend the time. I eventually switched from seconds to minutes and then to distance. I set the goal to run for a mile without stopping to walk. That took a long time to achieve. There were good days and bad days. I could run for five miles at my peak without ever stopping to walk. Having small measurable goals gives you accountability. Do not be embarrassed by how small the goal is. The important thing is that you are moving forward.
  • Talk with a mentor.
    • To do great things you need a great support network.
  • Say “yes” to opportunities.
    • Risk is taking action in the face of uncertainty.

“Most of us live our lives by accident – we live it as it happens. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose” Simon Sinek.

When you slip into the imposter syndrome, stop and ask yourself, “why not me?” Believe in yourself because you can do hard things.

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director & CEO, MBA