What Is Imposter Syndrome And How To Overcome It?

You may have heard about imposter syndrome, but maybe you aren’t sure what it is...or if you have experienced it? 


Simply put, imposter syndrome is a psychological term that describes when a person has a constant fear that they will be “found out” or exposed as a fraud for not belonging. It has been attributed to lack of confidence and/or feeling like they do not deserve the success they have earned. You know, the feeling that someone is going to find out you’ve been fooling them all along and aren’t worth!! Most people think feeling like an “imposter” affects, more women than men; however, studies have found that imposter syndrome actually affects men and women equally.

So, how do you overcome it? 

Imagine you just received a promotion or a raise that you were not expecting and rather than celebrate, you instantly chalk it up to lack of other candidates or luck. The moment you think that you do not belong, is the moment your brain starts to believe it. This may be easier said than done but the only way to overcome imposter syndrome is to confront your inner voice that contributes to it. 

When the inner narrative begins, saying, “you don’t deserve this” or “you are not qualified” it is up to you, as your number one supporter, to push those negative thoughts away and list all the reasons why you do belong here!  In addition, you should have a strong support system in place, so that when those negative thoughts do creep back in you have someone else to reinforce how awesome you really are. Get yourself some cheerleaders, people who think you are fabulous! If reaching out to a friend doesn’t work, rather than stay within your four walls, head on out and get social! By being around other people you will diffuse the negative thinking and help reframe your brain. Also, try being someone else’s mentor. You will find that helping others will make you feel good about yourself and see your value.

Other ways to remind yourself that you are worthy of good things, is to write it down.

Read that again - WRITE IT DOWN!!

Ultimately you need to remove the shame from feeling like you don’t belong and a way to do this is to admit the shame is there. Little written reminders, can help reinforce the positive mentality that will ultimately help you overcome imposter syndrome and make you remember that you have value to share with the world.  

In this world, be your greatest cheerleader!  If you suffer from imposter syndrome there are ways to overcome it and the first step is to acknowledge it. For more information on imposter syndrome follow BAXAdvisor’s blog as we delve into the five different types of imposter syndrome.