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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a real thing. Picture this. You’ve finally taken a leap of faith. You’ve gone after the one thing you’ve been wanting to pursue for what feels like a lifetime.

Maybe it’s a leadership position, maybe it’s a relationship, or maybe it’s the business you’ve always dreamed of creating. Whatever you’ve decided to pursue, it’s a new and exciting challenge and you’re fully committed.

“So,” you wonder, “why am I now doubting myself?”

Or you wonder, “When are they going to find out that someone else would be better for this?”

If these thoughts sound familiar, you’re not alone.

Most of us who dream big and pursue our dreams come up against these thoughts of self doubt. There’s even a name for it – Imposter Syndrome.

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What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a belief that you haven’t earned, aren’t qualified to have, or don’t deserve your success. People who have imposter syndrome usually chalk up their successes and accomplishments to luck, being in the right place at the right time, or being a fraud.

Common Imposter Syndrome Thoughts

Are you unsure of what imposter syndrome? Do you wonder what you might be thinking if you suffer from imposter syndrome? This should help. Below are some of the thoughts that might run through your mind on a regular basis if you suffer from imposter syndrome.

  • I don’t know enough.
  • I need to know more before I can really do this job well.
  • My clients/boss/colleagues are going to see that I don’t know enough about this.
  • There’s never enough time to learn all that I still need to learn.
  • I can’t start until I know xyz.
  • I have no business doing this.
  • Anyone could do this. Why would they want me?
  • I should be learning how to do xyz.
  • After I do _____, then I’ll be ready to do this job/scale my business/find love.
  • It’s just a matter of time before they realize that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome thoughts are rooted in self doubt. They don’t encourage you to try new things. They hold you back from doing anything outside your comfort zone. And they leave you wondering why you’re stuck.

The truth is that it’s only when you move outside your comfort zone and accept new challenges (even when the fear seems like it’s too much) that the imposter syndrome sneaks up.

I mean, you’ve never had imposter syndrome thoughts from sitting on the couch watching a movie, right?

This is great news. It means that imposter syndrome shows up when you’re truly living your life. It’s there when you’re challenging yourself and trying new things. So, you just need to remember that having imposter syndrome thoughts means you’re doing the best thing for your growth and success.

When you do have imposter syndrome thoughts remember that nothing has gone wrong. It’s just your brain doing its job. Its job is to protect you at all times. When you’re challenged in any way, your brain takes that as a sign to step in and derail your plans. This is how it keeps you safe. Knowing this is helpful because you can acknowledge that when this happens it’s just your brain doing its job. And you can remind yourself that nothing has gone wrong and then move forward intentionally with your plans.

When you aren’t aware of imposter syndrome, you might react to it in all sorts of creative ways. You might second guess yourself, spin in indecision, feel overwhelmed, or try to take every perfect action possible right now.

Spinning in indecision, second guessing yourself, feeling overwhelmed, and trying to take perfect action are all optional.  Really, they are. Those are choices you can choose to make or not. They’re driven by your thoughts of not being qualified or deserving of your accomplishments. You just need to work on overcoming your imposter syndrome thoughts.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Remember that imposter syndrome leads to doubting your accomplishments and discounting the realities of what you’re capable of doing or creating.

Journal Prompts

Here are some journal questions to ask yourself for those moments when you get caught up in the imposter syndrome trap.

  1. What has led to my current achievements? (Include the skills you have and the qualities you possess that have helped you achieve everything you have so far.)
  2. Remember, many people who feel like imposters think they’ve achieved their success because of luck, being in the right place at the right time, or being an imposter who hasn’t yet been found out. They discount their achievements and often have difficulty celebrating them. Which of the achievements that you brainstormed from the question above do you discount and why?
  3. What beliefs do you have that are holding you back from believing that you’re successful or worthy of success right now?
    1. Do a thought download to get all your thoughts out on paper.
    2. Pay attention to the facts versus your thoughts.
    3. Notice which thoughts help support the person you want to become and which are holding your back.
    4. Notice which thoughts you want to believe and which you want to let go of.
    5. Choose one thought you want to believe and practice believing that every day for the next 30 days.
  4. People who suffer from imposter syndrome often focus on the areas where they’re lacking. This is never helpful.
    1. Instead, set the timer for 10 minutes and let your mind go to work making a list of all the things you do well.
    2. When you’re finished, notice your list.
    3. Acknowledge and celebrate who you are.
    4. Then consider how you could focus more on your strengths.
    5. Choose 3 ways you could better focus on and incorporate your strengths into your life.
  5. Imposter syndrome has likely led to overthinking, perfectionism, spinning in indecision, procrastination, anxiety, and overworking.
    1. How would ditching imposter syndrome and replacing it with more productive and healthy thoughts benefit you?
    2. Make a list of the thoughts you want to intentionally think and practice believing those instead.

One Last Note!

Overcoming imposter syndrome takes intentional practice. Being outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself to grow often feels really uncomfortable. The more you realize this and accept that growth requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, the more you’ll show up anyway and intentionally create your fabulous life.

If imposter syndrome has stopped you from taking that next step or working toward that next big goal, reach out to me. You can sign up for a complimentary 60 minute consultation call and learn more about how my 1:1 coaching program can help you. You can either email me at or go to this link to get started.

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