You did it. You got the promotion; or landed the largest client you could imagine, beating out every competitor. Your presentation dazzled, and your manager and colleagues unanimously congratulate you, “Way to go!”
Except a nagging voice inside your head won’t hush. Instead, it whispers, “Everyone’s going to realize you’re not going to be able to pull this off,” or “It was pure luck; you’ll be found out when you’re not able to succeed at this again.”
The problem? You battle imposter syndrome, the internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. You feel inadequate, insecure and afraid that you’re temporarily fooling those who compliment you. Your negative mind chatter insists that any success you attain results from blind luck. The solution? Take these four steps to silence your inner critic.
Identify your triggers
Impostor syndrome comes from your past. Defeat it by learning which individuals and situations shake your confidence. You can win this game of inner critic whack-a-mole if you recognize and confront the things that lead you down the self-doubt path. Awareness starts your healing process.
Flip your script
Learn to listen to yourself when you deny your achievements. Train yourself to respond differently. If a colleague or friend compliments you, don’t let yourself say, “It was nothing” or “I just got lucky.” Instead say, “Thanks. I’m excited too. I worked hard on that.”
Every time you hear the inner voice that discounts your achievements or critiques your efforts, counterpoint it by saying, “Here’s something I achieved this week” or “Look what I’ve learned; I’m on my way.”
Next, start and then regularly add to your list of “accomplishments” so you’ll have the evidence in black and white.
You’re not alone unless you allow it. Reach out to a coach or others who believe in you. Outside support can fend off the crippling effects of the impostor syndrome. Allow others who value you to cheer you on – and when they do, listen to them.
Own your future
What would you try if you weren’t afraid you couldn’t succeed? Don’t let the mouthy self-doubting voice inside your head hold you back from the things you want to do. Even if you don’t succeed initially, it takes courage to seize opportunities despite doubts. Prove to yourself how much you can do when you let yourself try.