Still terrified and unsure of how to deal with imposter syndrome? Welcome to Part 2. If you haven’t read Part 1, feel free to do so here: Imposter Syndrome and Why It’s Okay to Feel Like You Don’t Belong.
Last time, we discovered even great writers and astronauts feel like they don’t belong or don’t deserve their success. If they suffer from low confidence, how are normal people like us supposed to deal with imposter syndrome?! Seems like everyone’s faking it and nobody knows what’s really going on.
When it comes to overcoming imposter syndrome, you’re not alone. In the first article, we mentioned reviewing actual successes (not perceived failures), separating reality from emotion, and silencing the inner perfectionist. After you’ve done that, you’ll have no problem dealing with imposter syndrome and working like a boss.
Here are three more steps that may help you conquer your self-doubt demons:
4. Get an outsider’s perspective to realign what you actually look like to others
If you have a friend you can trust, allow yourself some vulnerability to tell them how you feel. They’ll likely give you the reality check you need (and maybe a well-deserved smack in the face). Others remember events in different ways than we do, and a good friend is always there for a much-needed confidence boost.
Try talking to people older than you—parents, relatives, neighbors. Ask them how they felt starting new jobs, or if they ever felt out of their depth when at work. Undoubtably, many of them once felt the same way. After working in the real world for years, they’ve learned to hone their confidence along with their skills. That will be you, too, someday—you just need a little more time and nurturing.
If you want clarity on a work situation, you can always talk to a trusted colleague to get to the bottom of things. They’ll give you the insight you need to adjust if mistakes were made, and they can support you as you get your footing.
It’s okay to ask for help—even if all we need is a little external validation now and again. Real life is scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
5. Deal with imposter syndrome with words of affirmation, meditation, and correcting negative thoughts
Those with imposter syndrome anxiety are familiar with cycling intrusive thoughts. Doubts and concerns that bubble up again and again make us feel out of control. The first step is to recognize that the thoughts we feed (the ones we choose to entertain for minutes, hours, days) come back for more.
Cue meditation. Taking ten minutes a day to sit and focus on your breathing has been proven to ease anxiety, depression, and cyclical thinking. By emptying your mind to focus on the breath, you allow your head to take a break from constant processing.
It’s important to note that thoughts will still arise. Acknowledge intrusive thoughts and gently set them aside to keep your mind empty. This will help you become more aware of thought patterns and uncontrollable feelings. After a few weeks of regular meditation, you will find it easier to focus your mind on the things that matter. There are tons of meditation apps and YouTube videos with guided meditation out there. (Note: We do not receive anything for recommending that specific app, but this author has loved and used it regularly for over three years). What do you have to lose, except for ten minutes of your time? (You and I both know you would have wasted those ten minutes worrying about something pointless, anyway).
Be your biggest fan.
Daily positive self-talk has been proven to boost confidence and self-assuredness. Choose one of the phrases below to commit to memory and repeat daily. Repetition is key, so try looking into the mirror and repeating one of these lines to yourself:
I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough.
Challenges are opportunities to grow and improve.
I believe in myself and my power.
I am a positive being with infinite potential.
I believe in my abilities and express my true self with ease.
I make a difference by showing up every day and doing my best.
Believe it or not, studies have shown that by telling our brain these positive messages, we begin to believe them in time. That’s why inspirational quotes are all the rage.
Imagine how much negativity we’ve taken on without even realizing it, or how easy it is to believe negative, untrue thoughts. Now imagine the endless potential of feeding yourself positivity every single day. The result? Complete and total confidence turnaround.
Correcting negative thoughts is also an important exercise. If you notice a negative thought about yourself, grab your journal and write down the OPPOSITE. Write your affirmations in the present tense.
Here's an example to get you started:
Negative thought: I suck at my job.
Positive affirmation to write down: I’m good at my job.
Another option: I work hard, and I do the best that I can.
Continue to correct thoughts in your head when you don’t have time to write positive affirmations down. By correcting our negative thoughts with a positive attitude, we begin to rewrite our habits and internal wiring. Eventually, we can dig ourselves out of the ditch we have thought our way into.
Another great way to build self-confidence is by smiling or laughing while looking at yourself in the mirror. You may feel a little silly, but hey—whatever works! Your frame of mind makes a huge impact on your life and your work—these motivational TED talks can also help guide you in the right direction!
6. Fake it ‘til you make it
When in doubt, pretend you’re more confident than you are. That politician who always seems to keep it cool behind the podium? That self-built confidence brought them to where they are today. That famous sports player who keeps a cool head even when the pressure of the game is on? They’ve learned distrusting yourself means losing sight of what’s important.
The fact is, almost nobody knows what they’re doing. Nobody teaches you for every single intricate situation that arises in life. We have a choice: let negativity and self-doubt bring us down, or glide through life with confident grace. There are ways to become a good employee just by practicing some simple behaviors.
And if you get those down pat, here are some tips that can help you fake it until you make it in the workplace:
- Stand up straight: Put your shoulders back, and straighten out your back and neck. Body language evokes confidence.
- Maintain eye contact: Eye contact indicates confidence. Look away when the conversation breaks, but otherwise, work on appearing attentive and engaged.
- Smile more: Smiling more boosts your confidence and sets a positive and friendly image all while lowering nervousness!
- Listen to Happy Music: Boost your mood and your confidence by listening to something uplifting. It’s scientifically proven to do the trick.
- Write Down Your Victories: Every little success counts. Did someone send you a nice message thanking you for your work? Did you finally tackle a nagging issue at work? Write it down or save it in a file where you keep your external validations. Visiting those when you’re feeling down will remind you that other people don’t see you the same way as you do. It’s easier to forget the positives and remember the negatives. Doing this will keep your victories at the forefront of your mind.
These small acts will help you feel more confident day after day. Have some patience with yourself and give it a try! Anything is worth trying if it will make a happier, healthier you.
This concludes a mini-series on imposter syndrome and how to deal with it. To recap, here are some ways to fight imposter syndrome anxiety:
- Review your accomplishments and your journey
- Separate emotions from reality and let go of perfectionism
- Observe and get a grip on your thinking habits
- Get a reality check from someone outside of your head
- Practice meditation and words of affirmation
- Fake it ‘til you make it.
Start today, and imposter syndrome will quickly become a thing of yesterday.
Feeling confident enough to start your job search? We can help.