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11 Techniques to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

The term “impostor syndrome” has been around longer than we have had a name to describe it. In essence, it defines when qualified people feel as if they aren’t worthy of their position. 

Many high-level executives and entrepreneurs feel a twinge of impostor syndrome from time to time, but some feel its impacts more consistently and profoundly than others.

How you deal with this condition can affect not only your mental well-being moving forward, but also your career and business trajectory. When impostor syndrome overwhelms up-and-coming professionals and leaders, it has the potential to stop them in their tracks. 

Here, 11 contributors to Forbes Coaches Council provide some effective ways to deal with impostor syndrome before it takes a toll on your confidence and derails future opportunities.

My contribution is the first one on the list.

  1. Lean Into The Unknown

Impostor syndrome is a delightful reminder that you are outside of your comfort zone and pushing up against your next growth edge. You are courageous and resilient. Lean into the unknown with an open heart and a curious mind. High-achieving, successful people often suffer from impostor syndrome. Remind yourself that it’s normal not to know everything and that you’ll find out more as you progress. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.

  1. Revisit Your Core Values

Revisit your core values, strengths, skills and talents to remind yourself of the value you bring and why you’re doing what you’re doing. When you let both who you are at your core and what you provide to other people drive your behavior, you will gain confidence and feel more comfortable in your own skin. We are the ones who put the “impostor” label on ourselves. We can tear it off too. – Lisa Downs, New Aspect Coaching

  1. Remember Your Value

If you lack confidence (which is what impostor syndrome likely is), I highly encourage you to spend time in two areas. First, remind yourself of why you do what you do. Second, remind yourself of the value you bring to the audience you serve. If you feel called to your role and are passionate about what you do while consistently bringing value to those you serve, you have all the confidence you need. – Ryan Miller, Ryan James Miller

  1. Unpack The Reasons Why

As a coach, you should ask why they feel that way. Help them unpack it, get out of their head, build their confidence and repair those self-identified blind spots. Clearly define what the opposite feeling of being an impostor is. Help them get there by doing a cost-benefit analysis of the mind shift to facilitate the change in perception. – Shelley Smith,Premier Rapport

  1. Look At Past Challenges

Many professionals struggle to express their value. They’re so close to it that they can’t see it clearly, or they know they offer value, but are unsure how to best reflect it. One way you can tackle this is by looking at challenges that you’ve faced, how you addressed and resolved them and the results. The results are the factual proof that can help combat impostor syndrome. – Jessica Hernandez, Great Resumes Fast

  1. Remember Who You Are

“Remember who you are” is part of the equation. I remind clients by having them take inventory of what they have accomplished and the difficulties they have overcome. The second part is to remind them that they are on a journey of “becoming.” Help them embrace the fact that they are on a journey toward something and that it is usually a bit messy along the way. – Mike Ambassador Bruny, No More Reasonable Doubt

  1. Focus On Solving Specific Situations

First, I would encourage my clients to get rid of any self-labels, as those put us into a “box” type of thinking that hinders growth. Instead, I would encourage them to focus on specific situations that seem challenging and solve them one by one. By taking a large, damaging label and breaking it down into competencies, we take ownership for positive change and develop self-respect in the process! – Agata Dulnik, Ph.D.

  1. Reframe And Focus On The Positive

Impostor syndrome shows up when we invent stories and decide that the stories are true. For example, “I will not succeed at this new job because I’ve never had this much responsibility.” My advice is to parse out the facts and reframe to focus on the positive. A shift may be, “I am a fast learner with a solid track record. It’s okay if I don’t feel confident at first; I will prove myself over time.” – Bonnie Davis, HuWork – Inspiring Humans at Work

  1. Leverage Identity Coaching

This is where identity coaching is key. How you choose to define and relate to yourself and how you allow others to relate to you will determine how powerful you allow your impostor syndrome to become. Notice that I said “you allow” because it’s all within your control. Take control back and begin to define yourself and frame things to empower yourself. This is something I work on with clients a lot. – Dhru Beeharilal, Nayan Leadership, LLC

  1. Look At Yourself Objectively

Recognize that you are likely comparing your flaws and shortcomings to the highlights and achievements that others put out in the world. Don’t just see a list of your skills and achievements, but look at how unique that skill set truly is. Finally, reframing negative thoughts and working on confidence in a systematic way can undo impostor syndrome. –Jessica Sweet, Wishingwell Coaching

  1. Take On More Opportunities

The doors that open are usually the ones on which you’ve knocked. While you may believe you don’t have the experience, you should nonetheless “raise your hand” for promotions and opportunities and have discovery conversations. Use those conversations to help secure the kinds of special projects or leadership coaching you might need to be viewed as ready by decision-makers in your organization. – Precious Williams Owodunni, Mountaintop Consulting

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About Michela Quilici

International Business Growth Coach, Award-winning Marketing Strategist, Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Forbes Coaches Council. Known as a Business Navigator, Michela works with growth-minded business owners, service professionals and CEOs who want to ignite their businesses and accelerate growth, while building a business aligned to who they are.

She is passionate about creating roadmaps that ignite leaders to take inspired action to navigate their growth on purpose using strategy, systems and self-leadership, so they can get noticed, get clients and get profitable.