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How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome

Last week, we were grateful at Nomad Haven to have Alli Rizacos

give a talk on Imposter Syndrome. Alli is an Imposter Syndrome Coach for high-achieving tech leaders to help calm their inner critic and pursue a meaningful career with confidence. Let's dive in a little bit more.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Do you ever feel like you’re not deserving of the success you’ve achieved?

Do you second-guess yourself constantly?

Or that you’re faking it in your career and just waiting for someone to discover that you’re a fraud?

Chances are you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, and you’re not alone. Imposter syndrome is surprisingly common for both men and women, but as Alli noted, women are more open and willing to discuss it these days. Imposter syndrome is often seen in high-achieving individuals and is thought to be fueled by perfectionism and a fear of failure. Even JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series has said that she still feels like an imposter in spite of being one of the most successful authors in the world and a billionaire!

Self-doubt is really the seed of imposter syndrome, where you fail to recognize your abilities, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. Beyond making you feel awful, imposter syndrome can limit your career and personal growth. It can lead to burnout, emotional exhaustion, loss of motivation, and poor achievement. It also causes stress, fear, anxiety, and loss of confidence. (Leading Effectively, 2020).

Photo via Aaron Amat

How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome?

It's possible to take some simple steps and be mindful of the value, experience and knowledge you bring to the workplace. Some of these strategies below can help you to own your success and not feel like a fraud. Taming imposter syndrome does not mean it will never show up again, but we can recognize that one may have these feelings occasionally, and yet have made progress on overcoming them.

1. Appreciate Your Achievements and Worthiness

List your achievements and objectively assess the skills, assets and qualities that helped you succeed thus far. Allow yourself to feel proud of your accomplishments. Consciously avoid giving "luck" credit for your success.

2. Challenge Negative Thoughts

When you have a negative thought about your skills, take a moment to question it. Is there any evidence to support this belief? If not, let the thought go. Challenging and letting go of these negative thoughts is not easy at first but with practice, it can become easier. Recognize that you are unique and you bring a valuable perspective based on the personal hardships you've been through.

3. Claim Your Strengths & Focus On The Process

Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, embrace your assets, and reflect on how to leverage them more fully. Advocate for yourself and own your strengths. Rather than fixating on the end result, focus on the process of what you are doing. This can help you to feel more in control.

4. Share The Problem

It's incredibly helpful to talk to trusted friends, colleagues, mentors or a coach who can offer support and encouragement.

5. Be Part of A Network

Remember that if you are feeling like an imposter, it means you have some degree of success in your life that you are ascribing to luck. Try to turn that feeling into one of gratitude instead. Look at what you have accomplished in your life and be grateful for your achievements. Being part of a supportive network like Nomad Haven is also incredibly helpful where members can share both their struggles and successes, and uplift one another as we grow our businesses and our relationships.

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