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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

What’s stopping you? You’ve thought about it for weeks and months but you haven’t started writing that book, or launching that podcast or approaching that influencer. Chances are, the reason for your inaction is that voice in your head that says, “Who am I to do this?”, “I don’t know enough” or even, “I’m a fraud”.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” ~ Charles Bukowski

Imposter Syndrome – the belief that you are not smart enough, not good enough, not worthy enough – is a common phenomenon. (Surprisingly, some of the greatest achievers in the world suffer from it). It’s one of the reasons why you’re not taking the action you know will transform your life. Here are three things you can do immediately to move from doubter to doer.

  1. Keep a journal of your achievements. Write down your achievements both past and present. What have you accomplished in your personal and professional life? What challenges have you overcome? There’s no need to embellish. Indeed, it’s better if you don’t as the result will be fact-based and not open to judgement or interpretation.
  2. Don’t dismiss your achievements lightly. As kids, many of us are told not to boast but this goes too far to the point where we fail to take justified pride in our accomplishments. If you’re uncomfortable celebrating in public, then do it in private: treat yourself to something, pause and tell yourself, “I did great work”.
  3. Don’t believe the hype. Everyone is feeling their waySome of the brightest minds you look up to are simply putting one foot in front of the other. We all operate on feeling, opinion and best estimates. To think there’s someone out there who never makes a mistake, who makes all the right moves, who has all the answers is to put unrealistic standards on your own performance.

21 ways to overcome imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is stopping you doing the things that will get you ahead in life and take you closer to your goals. The good news is that StartupBros has produced a great guide for overcoming the problem. From their article:


I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out… If it’s part of my life, it’s fake… This makes total sense for undercover agents and people selling snake oil. It doesn’t make so much sense for people who are trying to make the world a little better or to sell something they believe in.

  1. Come off it. Usually I feel like a fraud when I think I’m more important than I am. When you feel like a fraud it’s in relation to some perfection that never actually existed. Letting go of some of your excess self-importance will go a long way in helping you feel less like a fake.
  2. Accept that you have had some role in your successes. We feel like frauds because we are “unable to internalize our successes”. We were given an opportunity that others weren’t. And so nothing we achieve after that opportunity was actually deserved.
  3. Focus on providing value. I feel like a fraud when I’m concerned about myself. What will they think of me? If I fail they’ll shun me. I don’t know as much as that other guy, I have no right to say anything on the topic. Blah blah blah. The fastest way to get over feeling like a fraud is to genuinely try to help someone else…

Read the full post here: http://startupbros.com/21-ways-overcome-impostor-syndrome/


Takeaway points

  1. Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome to a certain degree. Except narcissists and psychopaths.
  2. The imposter syndrome is related to fear. The key to overcoming fear is to take action.
  3. You don’t have to believe everything you think. No one else sees and imposter but you feeling like one can sabotage you and result in a poor performance.

Action steps

  1. A friend of ours talks about “holding the fear” but then going about your business. That voice that’s telling you you’re a fraud, let it have its say, but don’t follow it down the rabbit hole. Hold the fear. Then continue working on your goals.
  2. What have you been postponing? Make a list of all the actions you know you should be taking. Choose the one action that will make the biggest difference in your life and start working on that. Break it down into as many steps and sub-steps as you require and do the first one. Then the next. Then the next.
  3. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”. – Van Gogh. Identify the thing you believe you cannot do. If possible, take a “before” snapshot. Do the work and keep at it no matter what your inner voice says, no matter how horrible it seems. Then take an “after” snapshot and marvel at your progress.

Photo credit: Ashley.Wang. via Foter.com / CC BY-ND




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