Suffering from The Impostor Syndrome?

Do you feel you have faked your way to success?  You might suffer from the Impostor Syndrome, a well-researched, well-documented phenomenon that occurs when successful and intelligent professionals feel they do not deserve their accomplishments or position. This syndrome can cause negative stress, fear, anxiety, loss of confidence, and can eventually lead to derailment.  The fear of being “found out” drives some leaders to adopt unhealthy practices such as micromanagement, workaholism, perfectionism and procrastination.

You can overcome the Impostor Syndrome by re-framing inaccurate beliefs about yourself and your abilities. First, focus on the facts of your success, and document the skills and techniques that helped you achieve those successes. Next, identify and challenge your limiting beliefs. These beliefs may hold you back from owning your accomplishments because they give you an inaccurate picture of what success actually looks like. Next, get clear on your strengths instead of just focusing on your weaknesses, and take the time to maximize and showcase those strengths. Finally, talk to others to help obtain a clearer picture of your skills and accomplishments. Additional perspectives can help you see the flaws in your own perspective, and give you the information you need to accurately view yourself as competent.

These steps are not as simple as they seem.  They take a lot of work, introspection, and often, outside help.  But the payoff is worth it.  If you feel like you’re an impostor, take heart!  You can overcome this debilitating syndrome and truly embrace your accomplishments and abilities.

To purchase a guidebook on Beating the Impostor Syndrome (co-authored by ALA’s Susan Tardanico), click here