How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is real. Very. Very. Real. Especially when going out on your own as a freelancer or solopreneur. However, often the reality is far different from what’s going on inside your noggin. Let’s take a look at how to overcome imposter syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome?
Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as follows:
Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud.
Imposter syndrome can take place at any stage of a person’s career. And even the best experience it.
“I always feel like something of an impostor. I don’t know what I’m doing.” ~ Jodie Foster, two-time academy award-winning actress
Therefore, it’s essential to accept that it may never completely disappear if you do feel Imposter Syndrome. However, you can manage imposter syndrome to prevent the fear and doubts from crippling your work.
Most of the freelancers and entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to have admitted to experiencing Imposter Syndrome, and I’m sure those numbers are significant in the workplace environment too.
So, how do we overcome imposter syndrome?
Firstly, tell the imposter to shut the f#@% up.
You must silence that inner-critic in your head before he gets on a roll. I am of the belief; you are what you think.
As soon as you hear that little devil on your shoulder, attempting to fill your brain with fear and doubt, replace it with thoughts that begin with:
- I can…
- I have…
- And I will…
Better yet, say them out loud. AKA affirmations. It May sound corny, yet affirmations can truly help change your inner-dialogue. Just remember, you are the master of your own mind. No one else. Be sure to let the imposter know who’s boss!
For more on mindset, read my post on law of attraction and visualisation here.
Secondly, focus on the task at hand.
Not only focus, but pour your heart into the project. One of my favourite quotes comes from Doctor Norman Vincent Peale in his classic book, The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale refers to a coach who gave his trapeze artist student, who doubted making a jump, some words of wisdom.
“Throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow.”
It means by throwing your heart into whatever you’re doing and having faith, the results will follow. I find it an incredibly inspiring quote that can be applied to any challenging task.
Whenever you take on a challenging task, just throw your heart over the bar, love what you are doing and work at it with passion. By doing so, you can rest assured that you did your best.
Listen to your gut/subconscious, and it will let you know whether you have done the work required. By knowing this, it no longer matters what your client, boss, or critics have to say, as you have a clear-conscious knowing that you put in the effort. And more often than not, you’ll receive positive feedback and a job well done.
And this helps to shrink that little shit of an inner critic for next time.