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How To Work Out Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Aug 24, 2023


Imposter syndrome is more than a trending buzzword, it's a psychological pattern that affects about 70% of people, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. As someone who has experienced it multiple times throughout my career, I can tell you, it's a very real, very confusing and defeating. But, I have found some ways to work out imposter syndrome.


Here's how I do it:


Understanding Imposter Syndrome


Imposter syndrome is where you doubt your abilities and fear being exposed as a "fraud," despite evidence of competence. These feelings often strike when we're faced with new opportunities, pushing us out of our comfort zones and challenging our self-perceptions. And, it can be a crippling self-doubt that holds you back if you don't address it.


Assessing Your Imposter Syndrome


One of the first steps to overcome imposter syndrome is to understand why you're feeling like an imposter. Spend some time reflecting on these feelings. What triggers them? How do you perceive failure and success? Write these down and get into the habit of challenging these perceptions.


Celebrate Your Wins


An excellent tactic that has helped me is to relive my achievements. We tend to focus on our shortcomings, mistakes, or failures, but it's crucial to celebrate our victories. Reflect on your successes, dissect them, and understand how you contributed to them. Recognize your worth and let it reinforce your confidence. When I was going through a couple career lows, I remember journaling out how I go back onto the upswing during previous lows instead of sulking about what happened to get me in the low.


Mindfulness and Self-Compassion


Being mindful helps you to combat imposter syndrome effectively. Pay attention to when these feelings surface and practice self-compassion. Speak to yourself as you would to a friend. We're often our own harshest critics, so being kinder to ourselves is a significant step toward silencing the imposter within. I've noticed that my mood on Monday morning's can be a little off, the more I've come to recognize that, the more I've been able to manage it and expect it. I also recommend starting a breathwork practice.


Checking In with Your Desires


A very profound realization I've had is that feelings of imposter syndrome can sometimes indicate you're on a path you don't genuinely wish to tread. If you're feeling like an imposter in your role, it might be worth exploring whether this aligns with your true desires. Perhaps it's your inner self urging you to seek something more fulfilling. For me, this was when I was working a sales job. I felt like an imposter, because, I was to an extent. I didn't want to actually be doing that work. Be honest with yourself.


Ask Your Inner Circle


Finally, seek support. It was comforting to realize I wasn't alone in feeling like an imposter. It's a shared experience, and speaking about it with mentors, peers, or professionals can be incredibly helpful in working through out.


You're Not Alone


It's a common experience that affects many of us. However, by understanding why we feel this way, celebrating our achievements, practicing mindfulness, checking in with our desires, and seeking support, we can overcome these feelings and genuinely embrace our success. Trust yourself; you're more capable and deserving than your inner critic lets you believe.


The Imposter Syndrome Workout


There is a way to actually work out imposter syndrome. You ready?

Set a timer for 60 minutes and commit this time to the following mental exercises. Like a physical workout, it's all about consistency and repetition. Don't be discouraged if it's tough at first—just as with physical training, it gets easier over time.


Warm-up (5 minutes): Like any good workout, start with a warm-up. Use these first few minutes to center your mind with deep breathing exercises. This is your mental stretching.


Identify Your Imposter Thoughts (20 minutes): Now it's time to confront those imposter thoughts. Write or voice-record your thoughts and feelings that make you feel like an imposter. Spend a significant portion of your workout understanding your thoughts and feelings—it's crucial to tackling the issue.


Record Your Successes (30 minutes): Time for the heavy lifting. Bring to mind times when you've been successful, and detail these instances as much as you can. Whether it's writing them down or recording a voice note, this is a vital step in overcoming imposter syndrome by reminding yourself of your capabilities and achievements.


Cool Down - Self-Affirmations (5 minutes): Finally, wind down with some mental cool down exercises. Write or say out loud affirmations that remind you of your worth and abilities. This could be something as simple as, 'I am capable and competent,' or as specific as, 'I am an excellent project manager because I successfully led a team to achieve our goals.'


Consistency is key in any exercise regimen. Repeat this mental workout regularly, and over time, you'll notice your imposter syndrome diminishing, and your self-assuredness growing. Remember, you're not an imposter in your fitness journey, nor in your professional or personal life. With time, practice, and patience, you can conquer imposter syndrome.


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