Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Part III
by: Jim Urban, LPC.
This post is the last in a 3-part series on understanding, examining the roots, and overcoming imposter syndrome. Please be sure to read Parts I and II before reading this post. It’ll all make much more sense.
So we’ve finally reached the end of our exploration of a common phenomenon known as imposter syndrome. In this third and final post we will discover practical strategies for overcoming this painful and potentially debilitating cycle. If you’ve not read Parts I and II please go ahead and do so before reading this post as the information builds on itself.
Talk To Someone You Trust
If you have a mentor, a leader with whom you’ve developed a good relationship, or a professional helper, it can help enormously to simply take the first step and acknowledge the struggle. Taking this step will do a few things for you; it will:
- Normalize these thoughts and feelings
- Defeat the lie that others succeed effortlessly and without any occasional fear
- Signal that you’re ready to change your thinking and behaviors, and that you’d like this person’s help in doing so
- Defeat the shame about having this struggle to begin with
- Open the door to a more impactful mentor/mentee or therapist/client relationship
Take An Honest Inventory
Do you have shortcomings? Flaws? Hang-ups? Guess what: so does everyone else! On the other hand, do you have things you’ve done right? Talents and abilities? Successes? Accomplishments? Write them all down. After you list them take some time and do the following:
- Next to each success, accomplishment, and talent:
- Write what you did to make this happen.
- Write about a time you felt like quitting but didn’t.
- Next to each flaw, shortcoming, or hang-up:
- Write what you can do to improve this area.
- Set a SMART goal for how and when you’ll execute your plan.
- Say the following affirmations:
- I am a worthwhile, lovable person just the way I am.
- People consistently tell me I’m good at_________, _________, and _________.
- I worked hard for the success I’ve attained.
- I didn’t reach this level by accident, and my supervisors did not make a mistake in choosing me.
- Yeah I have some flaws and shortcomings. Who doesn’t?! But I now choose to work on them, and I choose progress over perfection.
- I’ve overcome these 3 obstacles on the path that got me here today: List 3.
Acknowledging our strengths and accepting our weaknesses is part of the balance of healthy self-esteem. I’ve heard it said “You’re not as great as you think you are, but you’re also not as bad as you think either!” Reminding ourselves of that truth is also important because it keep us humble.
Well folks, that’s a wrap! I do hope you’ve benefited from this series on imposter syndrome. If these steps are still leaving you in the struggle of imposter syndrome please consider seeking a trusted counselor who can tailor a specific plan that will work for you. Also, please consider leaving us a comment to let us know what you think, or about a time you dealt with imposter syndrome.