You can help yourself and/or help a friend through this-
Ideas for getting beyond the Imposter Syndrome*
- Connect with a supportive and understanding advisor, mentor, or colleague
- Call on your partner or your friends, so they may be supportive and talk you through impostor feelings.
- Hire a tutor or take a class in a topic/area where you think your abilities are weaker. You'll learn what you need — or realize how much you already know.
- Make a list of your strengths. Look back at examples of your own successful work or positive reviews, and remind yourself of your own accomplishments.
- Accept that some tasks will not be done perfectly.
- Be aware of your language choices. If you find yourself thinking you were 'lucky' to receive a grant or publish a paper, focus on what you did to earn it.
Recent workshop participants (Overcoming the Imposter Phenomenon- IP) shared these ideas:
- Identify your feelings/thoughts and increase your awareness- when do these automatic thoughts come up? What is the context in which they creep up
- Rewrite your mental “tape”. Remind yourself it’s normal to not know everything— you will find out more as you progress. You’re here to learn.
- Talk about your feelings. Others might also feel like imposters. Have an open dialogue about IP.
- Avoid negative self-talk. It’s normal to feel self-doubt at times, but know when you are beating yourself up. Instead of thinking you’re useless, reframe it to “the fact that I feel useless right now does not mean that I really am.”
- Try the “Fake it until you make it” approach— everyone, at some time in the lives, feels insecure about their academic/job performance. Remember, the most successful people are those willing to make mistakes.
- Learn to speak-up in many different situations. Try it in your friendship circle, try it in a class, or try it during office hours.
- Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Find the lesson in the experience.
- Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Reward yourself.
- Seek support.
- Become more comfortable with risks and/or changes.
- Find a mentor, mentoring is a critical success factor.
- Network with your peers and colleagues, both locally and globally.
- Visualize your success and keep your eyes on the prize.
- Field Guide to The Self-Doubter: Extra Credit Some true successes say their laurels are unearned. By Susan Pinker, published on November 01, 2009
- *“Unmasking the Imposter” by Karen Kaplan, published in Nature(2009). (source for top section)
- “Is it a problem of fit or Imposter Syndrome?” from Escape the Ivory Tower blog (2011)
- “Back to School Beatitudes: 10 Academic Survival Tips” on the Crunk Feminist Collective (2011)
- “Imposter Syndrome Quiz” from Overcome the Imposter Syndrome by Dr. Valerie Young
- The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. by Clance, Pauline R.; Imes, Suzanne A. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, Vol 15(3), Fal 1978, 241-247. doi:10.1037/h0086006