Is Imposter Syndrome Keeping You Awake?

Is Imposter Syndrome Keeping You Awake?
December 20, 2016 Linda Murray


Being a leader is undoubtedly tough – you have your team to manage as well as your own schedule and the direction of your organisation’s goals.

On days when things don’t seem to be going well for you, or even when they are, it is easy for negative thoughts and doubts to enter our head. This is the complicated nature of imposter syndrome.

“One day they will discover that I can’t do the job.” “What if today is the day they realise I am totally unqualified to carry out my role.” “Will they discover that I am a fraud?” These and other phrases are resulting thoughts of imposter syndrome and can lead to much stress, negativity and even sleepless nights.

Imposter syndrome is more common that you think and if you feel like this from time to time, then you are indeed in great company. Even super start that seem to be the most confident like Sheryl Sandberg, Tom Hanks, Seth Godin and Kate Winslet all have moments where negative thoughts enter their mind. Imposter syndrome is common with overachievers and will let you believe that while you are unqualified in your role, everyone else around you knows exactly what they are doing.

How to overcome imposter syndrome

  1. Your successes matter. 

You didn’t get this far by chance. While some opportunities may come down to luck – you worked hard to achieve the latest promotion, overall success or position.

Women in particular, tend to put their career success down to luck but you need to acknowledge that you played a huge part in it and you are more than qualified to carry on.

  1. Don’t dwell on the negative.

Easier said than done, right? Things can and do go wrong – that’s just part of being a leader. However, to be an effective leader you must pick yourself up and look to solutions to guide your team and lead your company forward.

Making mistakes does not mean you are a fraud.

  1. Avoid comparisons.

Comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples and oranges. Everyone is different. “If only” type thoughts and phrases enter your head, make choices and decisions based on the knowledge you have at the time.

Learn from others and set out to be the best leader you can be.

  1. Take on new opportunities.

Imposter syndrome can stop you from taking on new challenges and risks for fear of being found out. People who suffer from this syndrome at one time or another (some statistics are as high as 70%) tend to cling to the side lines in times of doubt for fear of being discovered.

Embrace new opportunities by being fearless.

Don’t let your doubts dictate your future

Once you acknowledge that you feel even the smallest amount of imposter syndrome change your mind set and practice these tips. By allowing yourself to wallow in the negative thoughts of imposter syndrome you are missing great opportunities to grow and learn. It is a time to be courageous and show the world that you can do the things that you set out to accomplish.


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