8 Steps to Cure Imposter Syndrome

Congrats! Your career has taken a giant leap forward. Your hard work and determination have given birth to new opportunities. You’re taking the mantle of leadership; maybe it was a promotion, or an entrepreneurial venture. Either way, you’ve climbed another rung (or more) up the ladder of your career. Amid all the congratulatory praise and best wishes, however, is a small, nagging voice rising from deep within you. “What will I do when they find out I’m in over my head?” Meet the monster otherwise known as Imposter Syndrome.

You’re not alone.

First, take heart in knowing that you, by far, not the only person to ever feel this way. In fact, some researchers say self-doubt plagues at least 70% of us at one time or another. Ask your mentors and friends about their experiences. If people have enjoyed any level of success, they have likely, at one time or another, fallen prey to imposter syndrome, too. The issue isn’t really whether or not you’re going to experience it. It’s what you do when the ugly beast rears its head.

Identify the culprit

What’s shaking your confidence? Sure, there’s that pesky promotion, but what about it is specifically calling your confidence to the carpet? When you can pinpoint what’s undermining your self-esteem, you can work on reframing your outlook.

Review what got you there

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no one just handed you the opportunity you’re fretting about. You earned this. Let me repeat that. You. Earned. This. If you’ve got emails, performance reviews, and portfolio components that document your progress, walk down memory lane with them. These are the accomplishments that led you to this point. This is why you deserve this and it’s why you will succeed.

Trust the people and the process

Okay, if you’re not ready to embrace your own awesomeness, give a little credit to the folks who are backing you. They are smart, experienced, savvy professionals who know a good thing when they see it. At this moment, that good thing is you. Don’t doubt their instincts.

Get real

Here’s the deal: You’re new to this. You know it. The people you’re working for and with know it. No one expects you to come in on day 1 and be the best thing since sliced bread. Give up the expectation of perfection. You’ve got the skills, talents, and experience to launch this new leg of your journey from a solid base. The rest is going to come together as you grow into the role you’re assuming. It’s okay to ask questions. The only thing anyone is looking for here is your best effort. That’s different than looking for “the best, most perfect person ever.” No one is looking for that. I promise.

Focus on the pros, not the cons

So, you’re not perfect. You do have a few shortcomings or areas that need a little fine tuning. That’s great. Make a plan about how you’re going to do that. Just don’t get wrapped up worrying over those weaknesses. Give more of your energy to noting your strengths.

Take the risk

Maybe some of those things nagging you have some merit. That’s okay. First, as noted above, you can learn and grow into the person who handles those things with complete competence. Second, remember that no one ever grew without taking a risk. You can’t move forward if you’re not willing to leap. Do it!

Lean on your support network

Sometimes we just need to hear someone else tell us we’ve got this. That’s what our support system is for. Reach out to your mentors, your friends, and your family and share your concerns. When they offer assurances, accept them. Don’t look for reasons they’re wrong. If you don’t have a mentor at the ready to help you navigate this big life change, let’s talk. Creative Blueprints offers a free 15-minute collaborative interview to help you evaluate our program options. Email cyoung@creativeblueprints.com.