How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Reference

Time: Yes, Impostor Syndrome Is Real. Here’s How to Deal With It
KSAT: Research shows 70% of people may suffer from imposter syndrome
Claudine Robson: “You don’t deserve this success”: how to silence imposter syndrome
Forbes: How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome And Silence The Oppressive Player
New York Times: Learning to Deal with the Imposer Syndrome
Seth Godin: Entitlement vs. worthiness
Shawna Newman: Build Yourself a Glowing Brag Sheet
Ideas Ted: 4 ways to quiet imposter syndrome and start believing in yourself

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Do you ever feel like life is passing you by and you don’t have the same energy as others? Maybe you have seen people push for new opportunities with ease, and you wonder how they are capable of so much more. If this is the case, you might need a boost of tenacity. But first, what is tenacity?

Being tenacious means having drive and passion, which can be experienced in various ways. Maybe you approach cleaning your house with methodical determination and a detailed plan. When it comes to your job, you might analyze how to be more efficient and prepare for future projects while you are off the clock. Being tenacious does not necessarily mean being the loudest in the room or always moving at a fast pace. It also entails giving yourself the space to breathe and be in the shadows when you need to, then showing up again with confidence and strength.

Tenacity is what makes you leap out of bed each day. You might not have discovered what this spark is yet, but it is somewhere within you. Becoming a more determined person and utilizing this quality can allow you to be more successful. Here are four ways to use tenacity that will yield measurable results.

1. Put in Preparation

The key to being a tenacious person is going above and beyond when it comes to preparation. If you have a deadline to meet at your job, take the time to organize your approach. You might need to wake up earlier or stay later on some days to make sure you can deliver your best work. Putting in this extra effort will allow you to stand out, and it could open the door for more opportunities. You might also take steps to plan for retirement. This could mean analyzing your current assets, investing in stocks, or changing your spending habits. Retiring is something we think about all the time, so actually being ready for it will make you more successful.

Tenacity can also be used in personal areas of your life. If you are thinking about going on a vacation, start by outlining the logistics of timing. You can first consider if there are any loose ends to tie up before you leave. From there, do thorough research on the area you are traveling to and find out if there are any must-do experiences. Decide on the excursions you want to take part in, and set aside days to simply lounge around. Planning ahead of time will eliminate stress and ensure a more relaxing vacation. Even organizing your days can have a huge impact on feeling accomplished. Creating a grocery list to make meals for the week or scheduling workouts will allow you to be more productive.

In all aspects of life, the tenacious person takes the time to prepare for the future. This makes achieving your goals easier and you will find that you are more efficient.

2. Be Forward-Looking

The difference between a person with fierce tenacity and someone who lacks the same drive is that the tenacious person does not let life just pass them by. If you find yourself constantly reminiscing about the past, you might consider shifting your mindset.

To be a more determined person, you need to live in the present moment. Exert your energy in focusing on what is to come. You can use your past to shape how you want your future to look, but you have to let go of any resentment you might have. For instance, if you can’t release the memories of a toxic relationship, then you aren’t opening yourself to finding the love of your life. When you wake up, tell yourself that today is an opportunity to accomplish anything you set your heart on and consider what might be next for you.

Perhaps you have been pondering how you might develop a new skill or pick up an exciting hobby. Using passion and tenacity, you can seize the day and build a better future by signing up for an instructional class or trying a new activity. There is so much liberty in forward-thinking. You might feel that it is daunting to contemplate the unknown, but it is really a huge chance for change. You are giving yourself a blank canvas to draw who you want to be without holding back. Think about where you might see yourself living in the future, who your friends will be, or what kind of job you will have.

When you learn to channel tenacious energy towards tasks and goals daily, your days no longer feel mundane, and you can achieve more.

3. Seek Opportunities

Part of being tenacious is tapping into one’s passion and purpose. If you show that you are open to new opportunities, you will have more chances to succeed. If you are searching for a job and are offered an interview for a position, make sure you come with insightful questions and send a follow-up or a thank you email. This will set you apart from other candidates and convey that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity.

If you are already employed, use tenacity to ask for a promotion or expand your duties. You might offer to assist with other team projects or bring new ideas to the table. When you truly love your job and are excited to attend office parties or volunteer at events, you will naturally exude passion and drive.

In your personal life, find ways to diversify your routine. Switch up what you order at a restaurant or test out interesting recipes at home. Instead of going to the gym like usual, try out a spin class. Letting every day be a little more different will be revitalizing. Also, seek openings for making new friends. Look for groups or clubs in your community that you can join where you might meet different people who share some of the same interests. Start becoming a person who is up for anything.

When a friend invites you somewhere, just say yes and be open to a new experience. Others will begin to associate you with being lively and tenacious, and you will attract similar people. When you surround yourself with individuals who are as strong-willed and energetic as you are, you will vibrate at a higher frequency.

4. Know Your Worth

Being tenacious will come easily if you remember the bigger picture and can visualize reaching for your dreams. This could mean reminding yourself why your work matters. Whether you have a career in customer service or the corporate world, make sure you understand how what you do benefits others. Knowing that the project you’re working on makes a difference allows you to bring a new level of excitement.

If you don’t have a clear meaning behind your actions, waking up for a 9-to-5 job feels tiresome, and you become complacent with your position. By asking how everyone’s duties fit together, you might find that you bring a valuable skill. It can also be beneficial to recognize the fruits of your labor. Perhaps you worked with a team member and assisted them with a project. When you see the finished product and how grateful your coworker was for your aid, you gain an understanding of how you can be in service to others. This makes it easier to value your worth and be passionate about other tasks as well.

Even keeping a vision board can allow you to be more persistent and determined to succeed. Putting up pictures of a car you’ve always wanted or words associated with the type of partner you’re seeking can motivate you and remind you what your end goal is. Part of being tenacious is also considering how you want people to talk about you. Taking a few moments each day to meditate on how your friends and family regard you will allow you to remember the qualities you love about yourself and anything you might want to work on. Understanding your worth and how others view you helps you live with more tenacity.

Final Thoughts

Tenacity is what moves us to action. It is energetic passion and perseverance that we are all capable of exuding. When you are a tenacious person at work, you will become a dependable individual who is given more opportunities.

Having tenacity in relationships also builds stronger bonds with like-minded people. Challenge yourself to bring determination in these ways to a few aspects of your life in the coming months. By being intentional with your time, you will maximize your impact and embrace success.

 

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