Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Transforming Your Mindset for Success

2023-08-17 14:18:17

For the last decade, I’ve given talks on mental health and leadership to executives from companies like Google, Meta and LinkedIn.

I’ve seen how even the most successful people can doubt themselves and their abilities. This is called imposter syndrome, and it can cause deep anxiety, self-hatred and a lack of confidence.

But by catching toxic thought patterns, you can change your mindset. Here are seven common phrases people with imposter syndrome tell themselves:

You can’t be a fraud when you’ve put in the hard work. For example, if you completed a project quickly — one that others would typically struggle with — it might simply be your strength.

Learn to acknowledge when you do something well. Remember your expertise and give yourself credit for your wins.

It’s normal to compare ourselves with others. The trouble is when we allow those comparisons to become our identity.

If you find yourself feeling underserving of something, ask a trusted colleague or friend what they see as your strengths. Or get feedback about why you were chosen for a particular project, and take them at their word.

Sometimes people see potential in us that we ourselves are not yet able to recognize. When you’re offered an opportunity that you feel isn’t aligned with your strengths, trust that your manager sees your talent.

And even when you’re really doubting yourself, embrace those moments as chances to grow.

We might assume asking questions denotes a lack of knowledge, but being thorough shows your colleagues that you care enough to want to get things right.

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Aim to be a lifelong learning, rather than someone who stays quiet in the background pretending they know everything.

This one resonates with me. But we discover what we’re truly capable of by trying new things, often when we don’t feel prepared to do them.

Plus, less experience can be a great qualification for a role, because it allows for creativity and a new point of view.

Someone else may have more subject matter knowledge, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more intelligent than you.

If you feel there’s more to learn, ask for additional training or advice; this shows that you are curious and want to improve.

Ask yourself: “Why do I believe I don’t deserve this?” If the answer is because your goals don’t align with someone else’s blueprint for success, acknowledge that feeling, and then let it go.

Once you identify where that attitude comes from, it will have less power over you. Success looks different for everyone. Ultimately, you get to decide whether you deserve the good in your life, and what you’ve worked so hard for.

Christina Helena is a public speaking expert, speech coach and TEDx speaker. With over a decade of experience, she has worked with clients at major companies including Google, Apple, Facebook and LinkedIn. Follow her on Instagram.

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