By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
[email protected]

Don’t Let Imposter Syndrome Hold You Back

You land your dream job. There is just one problem – you do not feel qualified or experienced enough to do it well. You feel like an imposter.

Everyone tends to feel a little awkward in a new role. It could take several weeks or even several months to acclimatize in your leadership role. 

If you are still feeling some discomfort beyond that point, and your personal sense of worth is not catching up, there is something more going on.

The reality is that there are likely people throughout the organization that feel the same as you about their own abilities.

You are experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Now, what exactly is Imposter Syndrome?

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

You have accomplished a great deal to get to where you are in your career.

You might not have any prior experience in the industry you are now in. Perhaps this is the first leadership role you have taken on.

But if you look back on your accomplishments in a fair and balanced way, you will see that you worked hard to get to where you are.

The problem?

You have not internalized your successes.

This is the definition of imposter syndrome. Instead of internalizing accomplishments, you have started doubting them and now you fear being exposed as a fraud.

People who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to chalk up their successes to good timing or luck, not acknowledging the role they played in causing achievement to occur.

How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome

If you feel like a fraud, those feelings are not just going to go away on their own. They must be dealt with.

Here are a few things you can do to deal with imposter syndrome:

Acknowledge It

If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome, you need to acknowledge those feelings and thoughts.

It is important that you put those thoughts and feelings into perspective.

Observe your thoughts instead of engaging them, as though from a third-part perspective.

Begin to examine them more critically. Start questioning your thoughts and ask yourself how they got there.

As you begin to examine your thought life, you will gain more clarity on whether the thoughts you are harboring are helpful or detrimental. Recognizing them as such can help you take them in a more productive direction.

Reframe Your Thoughts

You may tend to compare yourself to others unfairly.

Do not compare your failures with someone else’s success. This is a surefire way to feel inadequate.

The reality is that you are just as capable as others. The only difference is in how you respond to challenges.

Remember that you can always ask for help or learn a new skill. Even if you are not good at something now, over time you will gain expertise.

Share Your Thoughts and Feelings With A Trusted Friend

Explore your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend, colleague, mentor, counselor, or psychologist.

You will begin to see that others struggle with the same feelings as you and it will seem less scary. It is normal to doubt yourself from time to time. But you do not want to let that doubt take control of you.

A burden shared is a burden halved. So, do not hold on to your doubt. Be willing to share with others who can help.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with imposter syndrome does not necessarily mean never feeling like an imposter ever again.

Once you have gained the tools necessary to move past it, it will become easier for you to identify and redirect your frame of mind to something more positive and accurate.

Let’s get to work!
If you have questions about your executive career search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]