Right now, I'd like to get a little deep with you. Go under the surface and talk to your feelings.

It won't hurt, but it might be a little uncomfortable.

Ready?

Ok. Here goes:

Do you sometimes feel like an imposter in your professional life? Like maybe you act confident and cool, but it’s more or less an act? Have you ever felt like a fraud when tapped for a promotion or recognition? Do you feel uneasy when someone asks you about an accomplishment and immediately deflect or play it down? 

What you’re feeling is called imposter syndrome. 

I think everyone has felt this in some way at one time or another. I sure have.

The good news is that even though we've all experienced it before, we don't have to again.

Because I have five tips that I just learned about that can help us all overcome it.

  1. Tap into your self knowledge and accomplishments. 

    Take some time to document and review your positive qualities, professional accolades and reputation. Do an Internet search of yourself to see how you are branded and see how everything you are doing is working. The search engines simply publish what you create, they don’t edit anything. This is your public brand.
  2. Welcome experiences that shape your values and viewpoints abut life. 

    Experience is the greatest teacher. Think about the people and events that have impacted you and how they have added to your life. You wouldn't trade any of that for anything. And those things have, and will continue to help you accomplish more. 

    Now given your experiences you also have a lot to offer others and bring endless value to the table. 
    woman-standing-in-front-of-the-mirror-1629016
  3. Face your fears head-on.

    Fears and phobias can be debilitating and can inhibit your professional success, so being willing to identify them, deal with them head on, and seek professional help if necessary.

    The reality is that most of us have fears (oh hey, we're all human!), but most are not based in reality. I mean, what are the true odds of you accepting a job and then making a mistake that gets you fired? Not likely at all when you think about it realistically. Maybe you might mess up some time. Actually you'll for sure mess up because again, we're all human! But the odds of that mistake being job-altering are very low. 

    Tap into your support system when you’re feeling insecure or fearful. Sometimes a simple coffee date with a friend is enough to build you back up and get psyched and reminded of your worth. 
  4. Build your self esteem.

    Taking care of ourselves is essential to maintaining our overall health and well being. 

    Make time for things you love to do outside of your work, and make time to treat yourself. You deserve it!

    Achieving important milestones can build your confidence, too. Try using our  Game Changer Notebook to reach more of your top goals. 
  5. Attitude is everything.

    Gratitude is an action word. Be grateful for every day you are alive and all the opportunities that each day brings.

    When you find yourself in a situation where you feel imposter syndrome rearing its nasty head, take a beat and think, "I am grateful to be here!" That positivity and thankfulness can surely chase it away and get you focused on what's really important. 

Imposter syndrome may seem silly, but it’s a very real thing that can hold you back personally and professionally. Think of my tips the next time you’re in a situation where you feel like you don’t belong. 

 

Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate Americathe fun, smart service for small businesses. What's been your experience with imposter syndrome? Let Leslie know by emailing her at leslie.youngblood@excelerateamerica.com.

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