How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imagine your ideal self. Not because you’re inauthentic or untrue to your current self, but because that’s where you want to be and the person you want to become. There are characteristics you want to have, dreams you want to turn into realities, and ultimately, an ideal life that you want to live. 

Now, pretend you’re there. Pretend you’ve attained those character qualities, certain skill sets, and achieved the lifestyle you desire. Pretend you’re committed. Pretend you’ve figured it out. Pretend because you’ve got nothing to lose. 

I say “pretend” because that’s what imposter syndrome feels like. It feels like we’re pretending and making ourselves appear a certain way when, we currently are not. We doubt our skills, talents, and successes, and feel like an imposter among so many others who seem to have it figured out.

Here’s a little secret: we’re all pretending. 

We experience imposter syndrome because the lifestyle we want, and the goals, skills, and dreams we desire, aren’t coming naturally to us right now. We rarely realize that imposter syndrome can actually help us.

We’re all practicing and imitating and, therefore, pretending. We’re working our way towards our ideal selves and feel like phonies doing it. But not for long. Because when we work towards our goals, develop and improve our skill sets and character qualities, and keep pushing through, we pretend ourselves forward and grow through every process until all of that truly becomes part of us. 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: One Perspective That Can Help

“Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism, is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

(Source)

Many of us fear being exposed as frauds. At first, it appears as self-doubt and hesitation. But when this fear becomes persistent, it hinders us from actually pursuing the life we want. It puts us in a place of constant questioning, unnecessary anxiety, and even unhealthy views of ourselves. We then get familiar with these subsequent feelings and continue to feel them instead of flipping the script. 

When we change our lives by working on new habits, setting new goals, and trying new things, it will be unfamiliar because it means there is room for growth. We haven’t crossed the finish line. There’s more to learn. So, we need to flip the script and change our perspective. 

As I’ve researched this topic and the various approaches towards overcoming imposter syndrome, I wanted to share one perspective that has helped me overcome impostorism. 

Turn Imposter Syndrome Into a Positive Trigger

We can turn imposter syndrome into a positive trigger by acting on whatever made us feel like an imposter. Those feelings and fears came for a reason. Now it’s on us to tackle and work through them. As long as we’re growing and learning, we will experience imposter syndrome, but can turn the negatives into motivating factors.

There are many feelings and triggers that lead to imposter syndrome. When we can pinpoint these feelings and triggers, we can overcome imposterism by working through those feelings, pretending ourselves forward, and flipping the script.

For instance, I often experience imposter syndrome as a writer and podcaster. I will either doubt myself, lose confidence, or question myself for not knowing something. There are also times when I fall into the comparison trap and lose motivation because someone else is doing better or more than me. 

When I recognize these feelings or thoughts, as silly as it may sound, I think how can I turn this into a positive trigger? What is this teaching me now? And that leads to rational, practical thinking, which helps re-inspire me from the very thing that triggered imposterism. Instead of giving in to self-doubt or comparison, I can flip the script and use that going forward. I can deal with my feelings and fears on the spot and turn imposterism into a positive trigger instead of being negatively triggered in the future. 

Here’s an example about comparison:

When I compare myself to others and fall into the comparison trap, I remind myself that comparison at its core and definition is not bad. It’s part of our human cognition and can be beneficial for our personal development if we use it right. When we compare ourselves, we get information about what and where we want to be, if that’s what we focus on. The only reason I should compare is to get information that will help me grow and encourage others along the way. 

Writing this out helped me frame comparison differently. I turned imposterism into a positive trigger instead of being negatively impacted by what comparison usually does. Instead of spiraling in my thoughts, I changed my understanding and thought process about comparison and, therefore, turned it into a positive trigger, something that helps me grow and improve.  

Conclusion

Turning anything into a positive trigger begins in our thoughts. We must take an inventory of our thoughts so that we can sort through feelings that come our way. We rarely recognize that most of our thoughts, especially the ones that lead to imposter syndrome, influence our feelings. If we focus on our feelings and let them lead us, we will get tossed and turned like the waves (James 1:6). 

Our feelings are fickle, which is why our mind needs renewal (Romans 12:2) and hearts need guarding (Proverbs 4:23). 

Imposter syndrome happens when our feelings take over. We need to flip the script to overcome imposter syndrome by understanding that this will be a constant occurrence as we grow through life. As long as we are open to learning, growing, and developing our characters and skills, we will experience imposter syndrome. But we can turn it into a positive trigger by monitoring what happens during the impostorism occurrence. We can let it motivate us to keeping going and growing, because there are always new things to learn. 

I encourage you to turn imposter syndrome into a positive trigger. Flip the script and let it help you grow. 

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