You’re Not A Fraud: How To Tame Imposter Syndrome With 12 Tools
Have you come to recognize that, just perhaps, you’ve been suffering from a bad case of imposter syndrome?
Well, you've got company!
What is imposter syndrome? According to Wikipedia, it's "a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a 'fraud'.
Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved."
Now that you see the problem, what can you do to conquer your self-doubt and fear?
First, you need to recognize that imposter syndrome is an internal saboteur. Second, realize that you are stronger than your fears.
You're not helpless against this loudmouth saboteur!
Ignoring it won’t help either. So, instead, tame it by acknowledging its presence ("Hello, saboteur! Thank you for sharing...") while also noticing the impact it's having on your body, mind, and spirit.
Here are 12 tools to help you tame imposter syndrome and reclaim your power and peace of mind.
1. "SBNRR" your way through it. ("Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, Respond")
This can help you slow down and consider the situation — and your own thoughts, feelings, and reactions — more mindfully.
Stop: Allow yourself to stop in your tracks and take a moment to pause.
Breathe: Take in a deep breath, letting your thoughts drift away like a cloud passing through the sky.
Notice: Observe your feelings, where are you feeling them in your body? Notice your surroundings, your peers, and the situation.
Reassess: Make a mental note of your reaction and, if possible, what specifically triggered the feelings of imposter syndrome.
Respond: By taking the above steps, you’re more likely to able to respond more effectively (versus a fear-based, panicked reaction) to the situation from a more calm, level-headed perspective.
2. Notice the voice within.
That pesky voice of self-doubt can become debilitating if left unchecked for too long. What does it have to say?
Give it a persona so you can bring it out of the shadows and hear what its complaints, assumptions, and assertions might be.
3. Write it down.
Take time to journal and get those negative thoughts out of your head. Then, you can more objectively evaluate the fear disguised as "evidence" your brain is providing and stop ruminating about it.
Try this: In your journal or notebook, create two columns. Column one is labeled: "Evidence that I am inadequate." Column two is labeled: "Evidence that I am competent."
Any time you start to spiral into negative thinking, you can use this to see what’s actually true and what empowers you into action.
4. Step back and pause.
If you find yourself at an impasse or feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to step back and pause from the issue at hand.
When our fear response gets triggered, your amygdala can hijack your thinking and leave you in a state of mental fog.
By stepping back and refocusing your attention, your brain and nervous system have time to reboot and find new, different, or better solutions to the problem.
5. Focus on your values.
Redirect your thoughts from external signs of success and refocus your thoughts on your core values. These values are at the heart of what drives your thoughts and behaviors.
If your values are out of alignment with the work you’re doing, that misalignment can fuel the internal saboteur voice of imposter syndrome.
Seek out ways to align your values more effectively with your daily work and routines to calm that inner voice.
6. Review, revise, and recommit.
When you do suffer a disappointing review or performance mistake, take the time to acknowledge what went wrong and think about how you could do better next time, so you can move forward with more clarity and confidence.
Remember, failure is merely a way to learn what not to do next time.
7. Find a role model.
Research shows that when you're exposed to powerful role models, particularly for women, you’re more likely to see yourself achieving a higher leadership role or position.
Try this: Find a mentor or coach with whom you can have regular meetings, at least once a month to discuss career guidance.
This will also help you to see your gifts and talents through the eyes of someone you respect, which is a healthy way to boost your confidence.
8. Say "yes" to opportunities.
When new opportunities present themselves, practice saying "yes" more often. Trust in your abilities. Know that you're creative, resourceful, and will achieve success.
Despite what those pesky internal saboteurs are trying to convince you of otherwise. The more you say "yes," the more comfortable you'll become at doing it and the higher you will soar.
Try this: Every time you say yes to a new opportunity and you achieve the goal, large or small, write it down in a special notebook of "wins."
Then, when you catch yourself succumbing to imposter syndrome, review your wins to boost your confidence, reminding yourself of your talents and expertise that helped you score the win!
This "evidence" can also help support your reasons for asking for that overdue raise, as well!
9. Failure is a perspective.
Fear of failure can become overwhelming, looming large in your mind.
Instead of focusing on it in the abstract and the endless possibilities of "What if...," write down the likely outcomes if some part of your effort fails and find a different perspective to see things through that is less daunting and more empowering.
10. Exercise self-compassion.
You’re human. And humans make mistakes. Beating yourself up for feeling like a fraud is the fastest way to drain your energy.
Learn from your mistakes and practice love, kindness, and compassion with yourself.
11. Phone a friend.
When you can talk with a friend, coach, or counselor about what’s swirling about in your head, they can provide an objective perspective to help you get to the truth of the situation and stop the swirl in its tracks.
Assisting you to pull apart the "what’s so" of the issue versus the false assumptions that your over-activated amygdala might be making about a particular situation.
12. Practice mindfulness.
This can be as simple as stopping to take several deep breaths as you focus on the in and out of your breath. Breathing in, to the count of four, pausing at the top and then exhaling to the count of four, pausing at the bottom.
The more you learn how to tame your mind to find the quiet space in between your thoughts, the better equipped your nervous system will become for the emotional spikes that Imposter Syndrome can cause.
Isn’t it time to stop letting fear rule your life?
When you eliminate the negative beliefs that have been holding you back for far too long, you'll be amazed at how quickly your confidence will soar!
Start enhancing your peace of mind today.
Michele Molitor is a highly trained certified coach and hypnotherapist and co-author of “Breakthrough Healing.” She focuses on overcoming imposter syndrome and reclaiming your confidence and self-worth to create a thriving career and life. If you’re ready to eliminate imposter syndrome from your mindset once and for all, then connect with her directly on her website.
This article was originally published at Linked In . Reprinted with permission from the author.