4 Ways to Combat Imposter Syndrome


Have you experienced it before? A moment of self-doubt right before an important meeting or presentation at work? Or perhaps an increasing level of fear just when you are about to close a great business deal? Even though you are more than capable of successfully delivering the job, you somehow end up feeling extremely overwhelmed by negative emotions. If this sounds like you, you might be suffering from imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological term referring to a pattern of behaviour where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, and internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud.” Individuals dealing with imposter syndrome tend to struggle with self-confidence and doubts surrounding their abilities and achievements. In particular, research shows that imposter syndrome has been a silent career killer for many women.

Research shows that:

  • 28% of women feel like imposter syndrome has stopped them from speaking in a meeting
  • 21% of women have been prevented from suggesting a new idea at work
  • 26% of women have failed to change career or pursue a new job role

Does this all sound too familiar to you? Luckily there are a few things you can implement to help build your confidence and combat imposter syndrome.

Write down your accomplishments

Even though there is adequate external evidence of one’s accomplishments, people who struggle with imposter syndrome still feel that they don’t deserve the success they have. One of the ways to combat these mixed emotions and remind yourself that you are NOT a fraud is by continuously looking back at your accomplishments. For example, start writing down all your accomplishments. Spend time weekly or monthly to reflect on the things you have been able to achieve. You have worked hard to be where you are. It is okay to take the time to reflect and celebrate your success.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Stop comparing yourself not only to the people around you but even to strangers. In this day and age of social media, it is easy to look at someone else’s success and feel disappointed about your own. The truth is, comparing yourself to others is not fair to them or even to yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy. And instead of taking on an attitude of gratitude, comparison leads to feelings of anxiety and depression. This also leads to the next point…

Define success on your own terms

Learn how to define success based on your own terms. Often times when you try to achieve success based on someone else’s standard you will end up feeling like you are not good enough. However, success is subjective – Only you can decide what success truly means to you, which also helps to take to the pressure of yourself.

Think of yourself as a work in progress

Another way to stop imposter syndrome from sabotaging your career is to think of yourself as a work in progress. Someone who is still a work in progress understands that they are not ‘perfect’ and that everything cannot be perfect all the time. Accept that it is okay to make mistakes. You are not defined by your mistakes, it only makes you human. Neither does your mistake make you a failure. You are great at what you do and in every career journey, there will be learning curves.

You are where you are today not because you were lucky but because you are qualified and have the capabilities to do the job. Even though you might not realise it, others do see these capabilities in you. It’s time you see it too!

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