Are you an imposter and lack confidence? How To Get Rid of Impostor Syndrome and Make Confidence a Habit says that, “In most cases, imposter syndrome starts with a feeling of inadequacy or unworthiness.” And that “There are methods to train your mind and regain your confidence.” The article begins with usual ways of building confidence, such as earning respect, increasing productivity, being a positive influence, and standing out in a crowd. I was about to stop reading when it quickly shifted to point out that success can breed imposter syndrome. Okay, now you’ve got my attention.
All this focus on respect, productivity, and standing out are external references for our identity, worthiness, and value. Ultimately they seem to lead to being a workaholic, constantly busy to prove our worthiness to ourselves and others.
Then the article provided three helpful steps that we can begin to take to really make a shift. Here they are:
Step 1 – Own Your Narrative:
The article suggests asking ourselves questions to build self-awareness. The question that stood out to me as the most important was: “What are your core values and principles?”
I’ve found that one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with stress is indecisiveness. Core values and principles inform us immediately how we’ll make decisions every time we encounter stress. That speeds decision-making. Knowing our values means we have self-awareness. Making decisions based on our values, over time, creates our narrative. That consistency builds ownership.
Step 2 – Use Thoughts, Language and Body Language to Your Advantage:
The article suggests changing thought patterns, which can lead to changing our mindset. Probably the biggest shift for changing thoughts is to think of problems as opportunities for learning. Add to that a habit of maintaining proper posture and we’ll use our mind and body to our advantage.
Step 3 – Stop Comparing Yourself With Others:
We can’t completely eliminate our tendency to compare ourselves to others. It’s actually useful, if we do it to identify a standard we want to emulate. The article points out how we think others aren’t struggling like we are. Then it gives us another important shift to make: from external to internal. This shift grounds us in an internal locus of control. “If you depend on internal validation,” the article states “you can better be in control of how you feel about yourself. Relying on external validation and using other people’s opinions to dictate your abilities is a sure-fire way to feeling bad about yourself.”
I like the article’s concluding point: “While it is natural for even the best to make mistakes, it is important to see them as learning opportunities and not get demotivated. By reframing your thoughts and actions, you can deal with imposter syndrome effectively.” Mistakes are necessary. I’m constantly paying attention to reframing my mistakes, seeing them as necessary. That helps me actually enjoy the learning opportunities more and sustaining my motivation as I process myself through them.
A final point–a half-step–about imposter syndrome is one of separating identity from outcome. Much of this article points us in that direction. I’d like to make this explicit. Owning our narrative, using our mind and body effectively, and shifting to an internal locus of control all facilitate separating identity from outcome. The article began with the assertion that imposter syndrome starts with a feeling of unworthiness. If we simply note whether or not we feel more or less worthwhile after creating an outcome, then we can have self awareness to diminish the imposter that hides with us. Remember, it’s both feeling worthwhile and feeling worthless that lead to imposter syndrome.