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Overcome Imposter Syndrome and Embrace Success in 5 Steps

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Posted On Jun 11, 2024 

Unmasking imposter syndrome


Imposter syndrome is a psychological condition where individuals experience consistent self-doubt about their skills, talents, and achievements. In this case, we’re talking about imposter syndrome in the workplace.

Regardless of any external validation or credit they may receive, people with imposter syndrome tend to doubt themselves to the point where they do not believe they deserve their own success. Imposter syndrome, however, is not as simple as experiencing self-doubt. It’s also accompanied by the fear of “being found out” as a fraud.

Imposter syndrome does not discriminate—anyone can become afflicted. However, a scientific study explains how this syndrome manifests itself within professional women more than men: “Despite objective evidence of success, these women had a pervasive psychological experience believing that they were intellectual frauds and feared being recognized as impostors. They suffered from anxiety, fear of failure, and dissatisfaction with life.”

Imposter syndrome has affected up to 82% of people, making it a common concern amongst (primarily) young professionals.

How to spot it


Feelings of inadequacy in the workplace are not all that uncommon—so how can you tell if you’re dealing with imposter syndrome or some insecurity?

In her article for FastCompany, Jessica Bennett, the author of Feminist Fight Club, describes the various manifestations of imposter syndrome. Bennett highlights some common indicators of experiencing imposter syndrome:


  • Having a belief that you will fail or embarrass yourself
  • Feeling as though you will be exposed as a fraud at any moment and that you manipulated your way into your position
  • Undervaluing your worth and downplaying your achievements, even when others actively support and praise you
  • Underestimating your expertise and qualifications, such as feeling unqualified for a new job (further details on this are discussed in the subsequent sections).


5 steps to overcoming imposter syndrome


1. Qualify yourself

One of the key steps to overcoming imposter syndrome and embracing success is to learn the art of self-validation. This empowers you to recognize and appreciate your own achievements, reducing the grip of imposter syndrome anxiety. So start by qualifying yourself.

Research has revealed that women tend to apply for a job only if they satisfy almost 90% of the criteria, whereas men typically apply even if they meet around 50% to 60% of the requirements. This emphasizes the fact that securing a job is not just about being the most "qualified" candidate but rather about individuals who qualify themselves and go for the opportunity because they feel they have a chance.

2. Keep track of your victories

Managing and documenting your achievements and milestones is a powerful method for affirming your value. Consider starting a "Victories" folder on your desktop or in Google Drive to organize and monitor your professional successes.

In moments of uncertainty or self-doubt, you can open the folder and review your greatest accomplishments. Before approaching an intimidating work situation, refer to this folder and remind yourself of the value you bring. As a bonus, this information will come in handy for job applications, making it accessible when needed. Here are some suggested items to include:


  • Any positive feedback from colleagues, supervisors, clients, or customers, such as performance reviews or project appraisals. You could even save encouraging emails as PDFs.
  • Keep a record of the targets and milestones you achieved in previous roles (e.g., sales quotas, successful campaigns, etc.).
  • Note any promotions you received and any positive appraisals that accompanied them.


LaShawnda Rodgers, VP of Community Outreach for Blacks In Technology RDU, among other roles like Founder, Leadership Coach, and Corporate Trainer, shares insights from her interactions with clients to offer advice to job seekers.

"Maintaining a comprehensive list of your accomplishments is crucial in battling imposter syndrome during the job search. It enables you to recognize and acknowledge your brilliance... I advise my coaching clients to question the source of their negative thoughts and determine if they are based on facts. Facts can be verified. If the answer is no, then those thoughts are not true.

Remember, the unknown can be daunting but is essential for growth. Reframe your language regarding unfamiliar concepts. Instead of saying, 'I have no knowledge of XYZ,' say, 'I am in the process of learning about XYZ.'"

3. Set attainable goals for yourself

Confidence is established through accomplishments. So, accomplishing tasks, big or small, can boost your self-confidence and minimize feelings brought on by imposter syndrome. Start by first setting small, daily goals. Setting small, realistic goals helps you to identify your achievements and take pride in reaching them, ultimately boosting your self-esteem.

According to the experts at Hubgets, “Without specific, decisive goals to point you in a clear direction, it can be a challenge to find motivation and purpose… Establish your main target each day and set out to achieve it before working hours are over. The thrill of pursuit and the pride of success are excellent motivators.”

4. Network with peers

“Comparison is the thief of joy” is a powerful quote that represents the idea that comparing yourself to others can be a dangerous habit—especially in a job search or anything career-related, for that matter. The goal of networking is never to pit yourself against your professional peers; it’s to give you some perspective.

As mentioned before, up to 82% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. By growing your network, you gain a wider perspective on the job market and connect with peers who may have experienced similar feelings of inadequacy. Engaging with people who understand your experiences can provide support and validation. Plus, you may be surprised by the number of people who have felt imposter syndrome during job searches, career transitions, and more. Building a network lets you lean on others for guidance and reassurance, reminding you that you are not alone.

5. Explore your personal resources

Several resources can be incorporated into your daily routine to help affirm your value. Consider incorporating the following practices and see what works for you.


  • Meditate and ask yourself questions to gain insight and clarity, such as "What am I trying to achieve? What strategies work for me?"
  • Focus on abundance by listing the things you’re grateful for in your career.
  • Take self-assessment tests such as Meyers-Briggs, Enneagram, and PATH Assessment to gain insight into your personality strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use journaling to explore problems more thoroughly or to let go of negative thoughts.


Overcome imposter syndrome and move forward with confidence


Be proactive about overcoming your imposter syndrome. This kind of self-doubt can prevent you from seizing opportunities that you are prepared and qualified for! Don’t allow imposter syndrome to cast uncertainty on your unique skill sets or deter you from pursuing positions that are right for you.

Ease the negative self-talk by applying these strategies to boost self-confidence and recognize your inherent value—because it undoubtedly exists.

For more guidance on your career journey, connect with an LHH recruiter today!