How to overcome imposter syndrome: 'Don't try to fight it'

·3-min read
How to overcome imposter syndrome: 'Don't try to fight it'

Ever feel like you don’t deserve that current gig, promotion or accolade even though you know you’re as qualified as the next guy? You may have imposter syndrome. 

Shadé Zahrai is a global peak performance educator, Director of Influenceo Global Inc., women’s career performance expert and Ph.D Candidate. She knows what it's like to have to overcome insecurities and self-doubt in a male-dominated field. It was actually her experience in the corporate world that led her to start helping other women tackle their imposter syndrome.“If you’re constantly feeling a lack of confidence about your abilities, doubting yourself, feeling like you don’t deserve your job, then you’re likely suffering from imposter syndrome,” Zahrai explains. 

She says that imposter syndrome is the “persistent belief that you don’t deserve your success and that your achievement is the result of others, luck or timing.” While imposter syndrome is an irrational fear, it can rob you of your agency and potential. 

Zahrai gave In The Know five research-based tips on how to manage your imposter syndrome. 

Acknowledge and accept your thoughts

Take control of your imposter syndrome by identifying it. Then examine the negative thoughts that come with it. 

“Don’t try to fight it. Instead, figure out what might be causing the self-doubt in the first place,” she says. “Just because you’re less experienced than someone else doesn’t mean you’re not capable. It just means you haven’t yet learned what you need to.” 

Focus on your positive attributes 

Don’t give your energy to rehashing your limitations. Zero in on what you bring to the table. 

“Shift your focus by asking yourself questions like how can I be of service to others right now? What can I do consistently to improve little by little, day by day?” she advises. 

Open up to others about how you feel

There’s no need to suffer in silence. Seeking support can help you and others going through the same situation. 

“Build up the courage to open up about how you feel,” Zahrai says. “You might find that sharing your struggles with others can help to destigmatize how you feel.” 

Be aware of how others make you feel

Zahrai acknowledges that this tip isn’t always the easiest. 

“I want you to practice being aware of how you feel and how you respond to people when you spend time with them,” she says. “Even those you follow on social media.” 

While some might inspire and empower you, she says to be wary of those who put you in a negative headspace. 

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad,” she explains. “You just need to consciously minimize or avoid contact while you’re still in a vulnerable state.” 

Continuously build your self-belief

“Set mini challenges for yourself on a daily basis in a checklist,” Zahrai recommends. 

Your goals can be as simple as asking a question in a Zoom meeting or developing a new skill a few minutes a day. 

“At the end of each day make time to reflect on how you did and to celebrate wins,” she says. “This trains you to recognize your ability to grow and to trust in yourself.” 

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