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By Dena Cordova-Jack



Imposter Syndrome, the sneaky little monster that thrives on self-doubt, wreaks havoc in the lives of many professionals. That voice in your head whispers, "You don't belong here," even when you've earned every right to be where you are.

You are not alone. Imposter Syndrome has haunted the best of us, from the most successful CEOs to the newest interns fetching coffee. Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, and Wolfgang Puck all have battled it. Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey have discussed in detail their journey of overcoming Impostor Syndrome. It’s an equal-opportunity tormentor.

But the good news is that you can beat it! 

Here’s how:

Embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes: Instead of becoming a victim of Imposter Syndrome, consider it an opportunity to review your achievements. Start a "Success Journal" and write down your wins, big or small. Next time Imposter Syndrome rears its head, pull out your journal and say to yourself, "Look at all this proof!"

Reframe your thoughts:  Imposter Syndrome tends to make us focus on what we lack rather than what we have. It's like going to a buffet and complaining about the one dish you didn't try. Instead, reframe your thoughts. When your inner critic whispers, "You don't belong here," tell it, "Actually, I've worked hard to be here, and I bring unique skills to the table." Turn those negative thoughts into positive affirmations and build your self-confidence. We become what we tell ourselves we are.

Be like Superman: You know how Superman suddenly puts on glasses, and he's Clark Kent? Consider your Imposter Syndrome the opposite of that. When you feel like a fraud, channel your inner superhero instead. The saying "fake it until you make it" is a modern version of the old idea that pretending to be a confident professional can help you become one.

Talk about it: Imposter Syndrome is a silent assassin, feeding on your fears and growing stronger in the dark. Break the cycle by discussing it with your friends, family, or colleagues. Chances are, they've battled their own impostor demons and can offer advice, encouragement, or a good laugh about their experiences.

Get a mentor or a coach: Experienced professionals can offer guidance, perspective, and valuable insights. They can help you see your worth and navigate the treacherous waters of self-doubt. They're like Obi-Wan Kenobi, guiding you from Padawan to Jedi.

Set realistic expectations: Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow.

Celebrate your uniqueness:  No one can do what you do the way you do it. Celebrate your unique combination of skills, talents, and perspective. It's what makes you a valuable asset to your workplace.

Keep learning: Knowledge is power, and Imposter Syndrome hates that. The more you know, the more confident you'll feel. Sign up for workshops, courses, and conferences. Seek opportunities to expand your skill set, knowledge, and network. The more you invest in yourself, the more you'll realize that you're an expert in the making.

Remember, you're not alone: Imposter Syndrome doesn't discriminate; it affects people from all walks of life, regardless of gender. Find comfort that you're in great company, alongside the likes of Steve Jobs, Matthew McConaughy, Serena Williams, and Meryl Streep, who have all openly confessed to feeling like impostors at some point in their careers.

While Imposter Syndrome can be a formidable adversary, it needn’t be your downfall. Instead, use it to fuel your journey to success. You're a force to be reckoned with, and the world is all the better for having you in it.

Live Fearlessly,

Dena Cordova-Jack

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