7 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

Updated on:

Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

The term “impostor syndrome” was first introduced by two American psychologists, Pauline Clance, and Suzanne Imes, in 1978. It is a fact that many people feel it. It’s that irritating feeling that I am not good enough, I don’t belong here, I don’t deserve this job, raise, business deal, or seat at the table. Luckily there are Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome.

There are many reasons for a person to feel like an imposter varying from perfectionism to family pressures. Despite the cause, this toxic thinking pattern causes low self-confidence & self-esteem & an inadequate ability to cherish well-deserved achievements.

Effective Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

1. Don’t Think You Are Alone

When you have impostor syndrome, some of the most vital support may come from realizing how many immensely successful people of both genders have created amazing careers even while often having it. Still, those suffocating feeling couldn’t take down their spirit.

Celebrities like Tom Hanks, Sheryl Sandberg, Lady Gaga, Maisie Williams, Matt Higgins, Emma Watson & many more confessed they dealt with this syndrome & how, after following Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome, they got rid of it. Get inspired by their stories & recognize it is not only you; many people worldwide face it.

2. Question Your Feelings

When you have those feelings, question them & try to contrary them. Ask yourself the followings:

  • Why am I having these feelings?
  • Is there any solid reason behind those feelings?
  • Are those feelings backed by just opinions or facts?
  • What is the evidence?
  • Can I counter them?
  • If yes, why am I not doing that?

Questioning the validity of those negative voices in your head may help you to finally see the truth behind those feelings & get rid of them.

3. Make a List Of Your Accomplishments

Take a piece of paper & pen or open a Word document & list your achievements since childhood. If you have scored an A+ in a test everyone thought you would fail, note that down. A promotion, even after petty office politics from some of your back-stabbing colleagues, note it down too.

Look at the list & think about all the efforts & time you dedicated to achieving that. No success comes by sitting idly on a couch. If you have achieved something only because you dedicated your hard work, time & resources to it. You have what you deserve. Things didn’t come easy to you. You devoted your blood & sweat to it.

4. Recognize The Triggers

A feeling of belonging creates confidence. If you are the only or one of some people in a meeting, classroom, or workplace who are like you or are much older or younger, then it’s natural you’d at times feel like you don’t fit in.

Moreover, if you are a woman, people of color, or a differently abled person, to achieve something in your field, such as, first, CEO, astronaut, judge, supervisor, firefighter, etc., then there’s that extra pressure to symbolize your entire group.

Rather than considering your self-doubt as an indication of your incompetence, consider that it may be a normal reaction to being a victim of social stereotypes about competency & astuteness.

5. Get Rid Of Perfectionism

Most people who undergo impostor syndrome are high achievers & perfectionists, people who set exceptionally high standards for themselves & are determined to do their best to be the best.

It is a fact that perfectionism only backs your impostor syndrome. When you feel like an imposter, it’s only because you evaluate yourself to an impossible or impractical ‘perfect’ result. No one can do everything perfectly, but setting an impractical standard like that can be counterproductive.

6. Respond Positively To Failures & Mistakes

We often become very bitter & hard on ourselves after facing a failure or making some mistakes. We become so hard that we forget that failures & mistakes are inevitable parts of life & many highly successful people, even our idols, have tasted the bitterness of failures & committed some mistakes. But they grew above it.

Instead of being bitter about yourself in case of a failure or mistake, take it as a learning opportunity. Find out where things went wrong & how you are responsible for it. Finding the answers will help you to avoid making those mistakes & failing all over again.

7. Talk About It

Talking about your crisis is an excellent way for How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome. Talk about it with someone you can trust completely. That can be anyone, like one of your family members, friends, superiors, colleagues, or partners. But before opening up, try to know if they have any knowledge about this particular syndrome or if they underwent the same. Discussion with someone ignorant of this syndrome will be futile.

Alternatively, you can seek help from a psychologist or counselor. An experienced & professional psychologist or counselor can better analyze the root of your imposter syndrome better & treat it accordingly. Fortunately, mental health is considered to be a vital part of our overall well-being. You can find many qualified professionals around you.

How Impostor Syndrome Affects Us

Impostor syndrome isn’t limited to feeling like an imposter. This mental state has many ill effects, such as:

  • Depression.
  • Stress.
  • Low confidence.
  • Anxiety.
  • Weakened Job Performance.
  • Lowered Job Satisfaction.
  • Burnout.

If you ever feel like you are suffering from this syndrome or some other symptoms like that, know there are Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome in a healthy, positive way.


Q: What are the reasons for Impostor Syndrome?

A: There can be various reasons behind it. Such as:

  • Family Upbringing.
  • New Job or School Opportunities.
  • Low Confidence.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Social Anxiety.

Q: What are the types of Impostor Syndrome?

A: There are 5 types of Impostor Syndrome. They are:

  • The Perfectionist.
  • The Expert.
  • The Natural Genius.
  • The Soloist.
  • The Super person.

Q: Is there any book that can help me to overcome Impostor Syndrome?

A: Fortunately, there are many books of such nature. Here are some:

  • The Impostor Phenomenon by Dr. Pauline Rose Clance.
  • Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
  • Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy.
  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown.
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

Leave a Comment