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The best way to overcome imposter syndrome

(OPINION) Survey after survey indicates that talented professionals often suffer from imposter syndrome – so how does one overcome some of its crippling effects?

imposter syndrome

That little voice

You’re talented, experienced, and an expert in your field – so why are you second guessing yourself? You’ve heard about it before: imposter syndrome!

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The little voice inside your head that tells you you’ve got no idea what you’re doing, even if you’re a pro. Imposter syndrome can be a real confidence disruptor, so how can you battle that nagging feeling everyday?

Kick the habit

Celebrate your accomplishments
When someone gives you a compliment, do you hear it? Or do you second guess yourself? Trust your colleagues and get in the practice of taking compliments gracefully when they are given.

It might feel a little awkward at first, but the more you are open to receiving positive feedback, the more you will be able to take it in.

Don’t get stuck: try something new!
It’s easy to get weighed down in the day-to-day and lose sight of the ways your talents really matter.

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Remind yourself of a time you were excited and proud of the work you did. Revisit a personal project you feel inspired by. It’ll be hard to feel like a fraud when you’re doing something you feel passionately about.

Don’t compare yourself
Your accomplishments are yours. That goes for your peers, colleagues, and friends as well.

There’s no need to compare apples to oranges.

If you look around and you’re surrounded by amazing and talented people, there’s a pretty great chance that you’re one of them too!

Talk about it
You might not want to say openly, “I feel like a fraud!” But a mentor, close friend, or confidant can help you shake it off and be a guiding voice when you’re not feeling as confident as usual.

Build a kickass portfolio
Having a kickass portfolio isn’t just a great professional move. It also helps to have a showcase for your work when you need to quickly review your past successes and accolades, which can be easy to forget.

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Take the leap
Put yourself to the test – tackle new work you’ve always been interested in trying. Take a class or offer your skills up for a new project at the office. While you don’t want to get in over your head – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Trying something new can be a confidence building opportunity.

Not only that, but you’ll remind yourself of your capabilities.

It’s not all bad

You can most certainly see imposter syndrome as a good thing! Studies show that those of us who struggle with imposter syndrome are willing to learn and change if need be, and have a more developed self-awareness. There’s no skill more powerful to have in your wheelhouse than adaptability and introspection.

And most importantly: you aren’t alone. Many incredible thinkers and creators have run into imposter syndrome themselves: Tina Fey, Maya Angelou, Margaret Chan… the list goes on. So the next time you think you’re about to be “found out” as a fraud, take a moment to meditate on all of the brilliant thinkers and creators of our time who weren’t sure they were quite up to snuff either!

#ImposterSyndrome

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Caroline is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. She recently received her Masters of Fine Art in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College of California. She currently works as a writer as well as a Knowledge Manager for a startup in San Francisco.

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