11 tips to combat imposter syndrome

By Ladies Get Paid Founder & Author Claire Wasserman. Follow Claire for more career tips, or purchase The Ladies Get Paid book. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

Combatting Imposter Syndrome: How to fight back

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, it could be holding you back from advancing in your career and earning more money. Women disproportionally suffer from this phenomenon, so we’re here to give you some tips on how to combat imposter syndrome.

1. Track when you’re feeling it

To combat imposter syndrome, let’s make imposter syndrome as objective as possible. Over the course of a week or a month, take detailed notes of every time you experienced self-doubt. What happened? Where were you? What was said? Spare no detail. Once you reflect on your journal, see if you can find patterns; is there something in particular that triggers the imposter syndrome? If so, is there anything you can do about it?

2. Validate your feelings

So often we think we’re the only ones who live through certain experiences. The Ladies Get Paid community cites the desire to combat imposter syndrome as one of the biggest challenges that stop them from advocating for themselves at work. The first step to overcoming it is by recognizing that you are not isolated and you’re not crazy. Given how we’re socialized, it’s normal to feel this way. Let go of any self-judgment.

3. Give yourself a reward

Don’t wait until you combat imposter syndrome to feel good about yourself. You’ll likely have to deal with some form of it your whole life. The best thing you can do is try to find joy in the process. What can you take pride in? For example, if you did a great job journaling over the week, find a way to reward yourself. We like ice cream.

4. Have a plan

When you start to feel that imposter syndrome sneaking up on you, what will you do? Be prepared for what you’ll do in the moment so that you don’t start to spiral. Is it a mantra? A little sticky note you put by your desk?

5. Let go of perfectionism

Seeking perfectionism is chasing an unattainable goal. You will never be able to achieve it, which means you’ll live in constant disappointment and harsh self-judgment. Who wants that?? Every time you come short of perfection (which you will), it may trigger you right back into the throes of imposter syndrome.

Author Brene Brown sums it up perfectly, “Perfectionism is not the same as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we liven perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize the pain, blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” Our best advice? Go for good enough.

6. Make a brag book

Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves, we have amnesia when it comes to our successes. Here’s something you can do: go through your inbox (yes, right now), and try to find emails you’ve received that congratulate you for a job well done. Have people said lovely things about you? If so, screenshot it and put into a folder on your desktop. When you’re feeling down, look back at those messages. Also, when it’s time to make the case for your raise or promotion, use them as testimonials. We tend be too close to ourselves so it’s crucial to seek perspective and support from those around us. You might be surprised to see how much you’ve affected them.

8. Recognize your superpowers

Who you are is just as – if not more – important than how you perform. If you measure your accomplishments only by the actions you took and not how you took them, you’re missing out on a whole part of yourself that also deserves recognition. What are intangible things about you that make you, you?

Here are a few examples:

Team builder/cheerleader
Detail oriented
Institutional knowledge
Large network

When you feel that imposter syndrome starting to creep back, find solace in your superpowers.

9. Don’t diminish yourself

Observe all times in your life when you shrink yourself, whether it’s continually caveating (“I just had a question”), sitting in the back of the meeting, or simply trying to make your body smaller, there are so many minute ways throughout the day that women diminish themselves. For example, how often do your emails begin with “I’m sorry I took so long to get back to you”, or “I apologize for…” Use stronger language, girl! Instead, try “thanks for your patience.” You’ll notice how much more powerful you’ll feel.

10. View everything as an opportunity to learn, rather than a pass/fail test

When you’re under pressure to perform, focus on one goal only: what can you learn? Since you can’t control how others see you, what you can control is how much you grow. Whatever happens, the good or the bad, how will you use it as fuel? How will it push you to be better? This attitude is especially helpful when you receive critical feedback.

11. Gut check yourself

Would a man feel this way? Probably not.

It’s time to say ENOUGH! Want to learn how to combat imposter syndrome? Check out our course, taught by Ladies Get Paid Founder Claire Wasserman.

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