• Kirsti Gwynn

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Is there an area of your life where you feel like a fraud?

Maybe you find yourself feeling like you have to be perfect in order to convince people you’re worthy in that area.

Maybe you struggle with self-doubt and overthink every decision, just to make sure it’s the “right” one.

And any time you make a mistake or you receive negative feedback, it feels like a reminder of how you just aren’t “good enough” in that area.

This is known as imposter syndrome, and if you’ve experienced it, you know how paralysing it can be. It brings with it a constant buzz of anxiety, self-doubt, and perfectionism.

The good news is, it’s possible to overcome imposter syndrome. But first, let’s take a look at the mindset that informs these fears.

1. Understanding Imposter Syndrome

If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, that’s a sign that you’re holding a fixed mindset in that area.

When we’re in a fixed mindset, we believe that success in that area is a matter of “I either have what it takes, or I don’t”. In this mindset, we believe that the ability in question is fixed and unchangeable.

That triggers imposter syndrome in the following ways:

  • Any criticism (whether it’s constructive or not) feels like a personal attack

  • Fear of failure becomes very intense

  • There’s a tendency to avoid trying new things in order to “play it safe”

After all, if we have a fixed amount of a certain ability, then criticism and failure serve no purpose except to remind us, painfully, of our inadequacies.

This leads us to want to play it safe, to avoid the pain of failure and avoid anything that might advertise our shortcomings to those around us.

So what can we do about it?

2. How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

The opposite of the fixed mindset is the growth mindset.

While in a fixed mindset, ability is seen as fixed and permanent, shifting into a growth mindset means embracing your innate ability to change.

In a growth mindset, we believe that abilities are developed through effort, practice, and making adjustments to the way we do things.