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Dressing For Success: Embracing Impostor Syndrome The Practical Way

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Here’s some millionaire wisdom on what to do if you’re experiencing impostor syndrome and feel like it’s ruining your life.

Impostor syndrome is a familiar feeling for many…

From literal Olympians to successful billionaires, to the world’s best surgeons…

99% of people suffer from it (we’ll talk about the other 1% in a bit).

So, it’s normal for your doubts and fears to make you question your place and abilities, especially when it comes to achieving new heights in your professional life.

What Impostor Syndrome Feels Like

It's like stepping out in a bold, new outfit and feeling self-conscious… wondering if you truly belong in it.

But here’s the thing…

Imagine you're wearing this new, stylish outfit…

As you step out, you feel everyone’s eyes on you and start doubting if you're really someone who can pull off such a look.

This is quite similar to impostor syndrome…

You're in a new role or situation, and you start questioning your fit and ability.

However, just like choosing to wear that outfit is a step towards a new, improved style… experiencing impostor syndrome is actually a sign that you're growing…

It means you're pushing your boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone.

The point is, you need to reframe impostor syndrome…

Don’t see it as a sign of inadequacy and that you’re not really as good as other people think you are…

See it as a sign that you actually care for your work and you want to help others.

Now, remember I said there's 1% of the population who don’t experience impostor syndrome?

They’re called scammers and frauds.

Think about it…

They’re the only people who don’t really care about their work or helping others.

How to Embrace Impostor Syndrome

Now, if Impostor Syndrome is getting in the way of your tasks and your goals…

Here are a few things you can try to reduce it:

  1. Acknowledge & Reframe It As Growth:
    Just as trying a new outfit is a sign of evolving style, recognize that impostor syndrome often comes when you're growing professionally.

  2. Compare Yourself to Yesterday, Not Others:
    Focus on your own progress, like feeling more comfortable in your new outfit than when you first tried it.

  3. Seek Feedback:
    Just as you might ask a friend if the outfit looks good, seek feedback on your work or skills to gain an outside perspective.

  4. Remind Yourself of Past Successes:
    Remember times when you felt confident and capable, like when an old outfit felt just right.

  5. Embrace Continuous Learning:
    Understand that feeling like an impostor sometimes just means there's more for you to learn…

When you see yourself as a work-in-progress, you’re automatically less likely to experience feelings of inadequacy. -Dr. Valerie Young

Remember, wearing a new outfit boldly is about embracing the change and discomfort it brings.

Similarly, facing impostor syndrome is about acknowledging that these feelings are a part of challenging yourself and growing in your career.

It's not about shedding these doubts overnight but about learning to walk confidently in your new role, one step at a time.

Conclusion: The Truth About Impostor Syndrome

Whether you don’t believe that you ‘deserve’ what you have, or think someone’s going to have you ‘found out’, or if you simply feel like a ‘fraud’ based on how you gauge your own competence, it could be helpful to know what ‘kind’ of impostor you are…

Here are 5 subgroups of impostors as put forward by Dr. Valerie Young from the Impostor Syndrome Insititute in her book called “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women”, to help you identify and reframe your ‘type’ so you can start thriving:

If you’re a ‘Perfectionist’ you’re someone who likely sets exceptionally high personal standards, and you hold yourself to them, but you punish yourself if you don’t reach that level of excellence:

  • Your single focus may be on HOW something’s done and you believe your performance should be 100% perfect all the time, every time
  • Failure to live up to your unrealistic standards may ‘justify’ your sense of impostorism to you as it points to your perceived ‘incompetence’
  • Your ambition for perfection, fueled by fear of failing can create distraction, procrastination, or burnout

Consider reframing your efforts, goals, and achievements with the following in mind:

  • Realize that perfectionism is impossible and impractical as it limits your progress and success
  • Go easier on yourself and accept that when something is good, it’s good enough
  • Understand that not everything you are involved with deserves 100%

 If you’re a ‘Superhuman’ you probably feel that you should be excelling at every single role you play, in every capacity:

  • You may be able to masterfully balance multiple roles as you believe that you’re capable of doing it all
  • Even when you find it challenging to keep up with all your commitments, you might still refuse to say ‘no’ as your ‘competence’ comes down to how MANY items you can handle well
  • That little voice in your head convinces you that if you truly are competent, you should be able to do all of it

You can reframe your approach and pursuit of completion differently though:

  • Start saying no, because saying no is really okay and does not impact your levels of competence
  • Accept that delegating to others will not only free up your time, but also present others with an opportunity to participate, learn, and grow
  • Realize that taking a breather, slowing down, and cutting out extra duties will help you focus better on priorities and activities that really make a difference

If you’re an ‘Expert’ type ‘impostor’, then you might be expecting of yourself to always know everything and sense shame when you find out you don’t know it all:

  • Rather than learn and develop more as you go along, you may feel your competence rests on how much skill and knowledge you have - will enough ever be enough?
  • You may have a benchmark in mind for the expertise required to be seen as competent or successful
  • Your inner voice can trick you into believing that if you were really knowledgeable you’d remember and understand everything you read, or that you require extensive training and exposure before putting yourself out there

Think about how reframing this state of mind could benefit your progress:

  • No one person can ever know it all, because as much as knowledge is unlimited, it is also ever-evolving
  • The road to expertise has many different paths, so consider exploring and enjoying the journey instead of being fixated on the destination
  • You can still be confident even when you don’t have all the answers - get comfortable with not knowing and be open to learning

If you’re a ‘Soloist’ you might feel that you have to achieve outcomes alone and you may be likely to take any credit at all if you had help from anyone else:

  • You may be more concerned with WHO completes an objective and you might be quite likely to decline offers of assistance so you can demonstrate your individual competence
  • Your mind tells you that only your own achievements that you singlehandedly completed are what count
  • The voice inside of you might echo that if you truly were competent, you would be able to do everything yourself

Reframing this point of view can help you improve your productivity and results:

  • Understand that a competent person knows how to get what they need and ask for help
  • The smartest people generally look for others who have more knowledge than they do
  • Realize that your efforts need not be avant-garde to be considered good enough

If you’re a ‘Natural Genius’ you may hold the belief that unless everything is easy for you, you’re not naturally talented at what you’re doing: 

  • The belief that you’re only truly competent if you have intrinsic ability, aptitude, and intelligence persuades you that success is supposed to be effortless
  • You might also believe that if you’re required to exert effort and hard work into something, that you’re not at all good at it
  • Your thinking convinces you that if you were a real genius, what you’re attempting would not be this hard

To reframe this perspective, consider the following:

  • Anything can be learned and true success takes time regardless of who you are - it’s a process and a mindset
  • There’s no growth without challenge, and struggles can be opportunities 
  • Effort outperforms ability every time and you’re not an impostor if you’re willing to work to get better at anything or learn something new

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faq-frequently-asked-questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Impostor Syndrome

Has your Mind ever wondered…

Is impostor syndrome a mental illness?

No, it is not a mental illness or condition.

Impostor syndrome simply describes a person who believes or feels that they are not as capable as others perceive them to be.

People who experience impostor syndrome generally have a fear that they will be exposed as a fake or a fraud.

How do I know if I have imposter syndrome?

If you’re experiencing self-doubt consistently, even in arenas where you ordinarily excel, or you feel nervous, restless, depressed, or anxious over your achievements, and if your inner dialogue is destructive and disempowering because you feel like a ‘fraud’ and you think that you’ll be ‘unmasked’ to expose who you really are, then you’re likely suffering from impostor syndrome.

What’s the opposite of impostor syndrome?

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is often presented as the opposite of Impostor Syndrome.

This effect refers to the cognitive bias in which someone experiences excessive confidence about themselves and in their own abilities, but lacks the actual skills to match their self-perception.

How do I stop feeling like an imposter?

By embracing impostor syndrome by acknowledging how you feel and reframing your thoughts and beliefs about yourself, knowing that by virtue of the fact that you feel like a ‘fraud’, you’re growing.

Measure yourself against your own progress, rather than comparing yourself to others or the highest strictest demands you can muster - know that good enough is good enough.

Gain an external perspective on your performance without looking for something to beat yourself up over.

Cast your mind back to how many times you have succeeded and crushed your goals, as holding on to that sense of confidence is a reminder of your competence and journey. 

Continue your learning curve, as there’s always more to know, and never be ashamed to not have an answer - but be willing to learn the answer.

What are the 3 P's of imposter syndrome?

There are actually 4 ‘P’ indicators for impostor syndrome according to author and speaker Clare Josa, and they are “perfectionism”, “paralysis”, “people-pleasing”, and “procrastination- all of which stand in your way of progress if you allow it.

Instead of allowing impostor syndrome to get the better of you, consider embracing how you feel for growth and start thinking and believing in ways that support your dream life by learning how to develop a millionaire mindset so you can achieve the success you desire.

Readers' Reviews

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Avatar for Igwilo chukwuemeka
Igwilo chukwuemeka

A pop of relief

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Yes, now I know this concept Imposter Syndrome is not bad if being understood, the reframing aspect is the key for proper utilization of not only imposter syndrome but virtually everything leading to growth or success. I am happy because I now understand how I feel and whenever that feeling pops up I will know exactly what is happening and control it gently.

Thank you more for this eye opening article

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José Jhonatan

Síndrome del impostor [Translated from Spanish: imposter syndrome]

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Primeramente agradezco por todos los contenidos que nos dejan. Realmente son muy válidos y de mucha ayuda, cada vez que voy leyendo los contenidos siento la libertad y poder para poder continuar mi camino

[Translated from Spanish: First of all, I thank you for all the content you leave us. They are really very valid and very helpful, every time I read the contents I feel the freedom and power to continue my path]

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Hansani

Savings for the future growth

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Content is clear and readable. Love the article

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Luis Fernando Yusta

IMPOSTOR SYNDROME

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Very good revisión, and very well explained,

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Elizabeth

I love the perspective shared here about imposter syndrome. It sheds new light and better way to approaching the subject. Thank you.

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I love the perspective shared here about imposter syndrome. It sheds new light and better way to approaching the subject. Thank you.

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Juan

Excelente! [Translated from Portugues: Great!]

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Siempre pensamos que cuando no sabemos algo, es porque no somos lo suficientemente buenos en lo que hacemos, debemos entender que todos los días podemos aprender algo nuevo que nos ayude a seguir mejorando nuestras habilidades.

[Translated from Portuguese: We always think that when we don't know something, it is because we are not good enough at what we do, we must understand that every day we can learn something new that helps us continue improving our skills.]

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Muhammed gazel

very important

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Yes, sometimes I think so, but after confessing, I feel comfortable facing this challenge

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Edrick

Imposter syndrome

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Thank you so much, this article has really spoken about me, I didn't know I had imposter syndrome. But now I know, I am going to work upon it.

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Jesus yoel

Síndrome [Translated from Spanish: Syndrome]

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Debes aceptarnos a nosotros mismo

[Translated from Spanish: You must accept ourselves]

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Kimberly Jeffries

This was great!

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This was very informative! I can definitely apply it to "me." Thanks for the great read!;

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Elsa

Good job

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It’s to the point and easy to understand and I love the fact that it have a solution for the problems

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Ahmad

Bravo!!

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Very incitive. I felt the author knows about my feelings.

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Tracy

I have it!

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The struggle is real! It's especially challenging when you hear naysayers. I like the ideas presented to assist in dealing with it. Not sure if we ever truly overcome it ... I believe we just manage it.

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