6 Strategies To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

6 strategies to overcome imposter syndrome.

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced imposter syndrome. I just finished a semester-long project when I received the following email from my college professor:


Immediately after reading the email (that, yes, I saved all these years), I remember feeling all my hard work wasn’t ‘worthy’ enough of a publication. Self-doubt started to creep in, and I convinced myself that my piece wasn’t good enough. Even though I worked on it for almost four months and poured my heart into it. Not to mention, somebody who was in the field for over 30 years, recognized it as being worthy for publication. I couldn’t come to terms with why I was feeling that way. But, at that moment I suddenly felt so small, underqualified, and incompetent. It doesn’t make sense, right?

It wasn’t until I experienced it a few more times that I learned there was a term to describe how I was feeling. According to the Dictionary, imposter syndrome is: “The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s efforts or skills.” In simpler terms, it’s those exact feelings I was experiencing. The feelings like you aren’t good enough or qualified, causing you to feel incompetent. If you’ve ever experienced the feelings of imposter syndrome, know you’re far from alone, and there are steps you can take to overcome it.

1. Recognize Your Feelings

This is one of the most important aspects of learning how to overcome imposter syndrome. Recognizing how you feel, rather than ignoring your feelings, will start the process of learning how to walk through it. For a long time, I honestly thought those feelings were so abnormal. It wasn’t until I started researching that I found out, statistically, it’s the complete opposite. Up to 82 percent of people struggle with imposter syndrome at one point or another, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Even after graduating from college, I had a four-year bachelor’s degree in Journalism and wrote for several publications. Yet part of me still felt like a fraud and that I wasn’t actually qualified. How was that even possible? Logically, it didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t until I could put a term to how I was feeling that I finally felt validated for my heavy emotions. It helped me separate why I felt that way and how I was going to start the process of overcoming imposter syndrome. Which brings me to my second point:

2. Learn How To Reject Any Negative Thoughts

Even though I had all the credentials on paper to be a writer, I still struggled with a negative way of thinking. It didn’t help that many people suggested I pursue a different career, that writing wouldn’t get me anywhere. Although these were other people’s opinions (that I honestly believed were trying to come from a good place), it didn’t mean I had to take them to heart, which only added to my doubt.

Negative thoughts might try to come into our minds, but it doesn’t mean we have to invite them to stay there. It’ll only intensify your feelings, which leads to overthinking and self-doubt. Try replacing your negative thoughts with something positive and true. If this means physically taking the time to write out your achievements on paper to read it over and over, do it. Always replace something bad with something good—including focusing on everything you know to be true.



3. Believe In Your Abilities

This goes hand-in-hand with learning how to reject and replace negative thoughts. We all have unique gifts and abilities that are different from each other. Never doubt yourself because you aren’t where somebody else is, or believing the lie that you’ll never measure up to them. It took me almost two years to build my website and learn all the ins and outs. Sometimes I had to remind myself not to compare my site to others. My site was mine, which meant that I didn’t have to match any certain layout just because somebody else had it. I wasn’t a designer, but I was a writer and a creator, which is something I learned to take pride in over the years. I knew once I finally went live with my website, it would be a huge accomplishment for me because it was something that I worked so hard for—even if I was never considered a designer.

Never doubt your abilities because they don’t match somebody else’s. Each of us has a space in this world, and our talents and abilities are supposed to look different. You might have areas you want to work on, but there’s always room to continue learning and growing. You have your abilities for a reason, and you should always recognize and believe in them for what they are. Never hide your talent in fear of not living up to the expectations that you set for yourself.

4. Don’t Obsess Over What Could Go Wrong, Focus On What Could Go Right

I think one of the biggest facets of imposter syndrome is the fear of failure. We’ve all heard of famous people who experienced many failures before they even saw a glimpse of success. Their journey of trial and error is a reminder that we never know what will happen until we take a chance.


It’s hard not to get caught up in the small details, but it isn’t your job to always figure everything out. However, it is your job to keep pursuing the things you know you’re supposed to do, to the best of your ability. Everything else will get figured out along the way. Even if something doesn’t happen how you pictured, it’s still better than never taking a chance on the unknown. Focus on everything that can go right, rather than obsessing over what could go wrong.

5. Show Yourself Kindness

We can be our own worst critic. While we all put pressure on ourselves at times, we should never let it get to the point that it causes us to second-guess everything we’ve worked for. There might be moments where you experience weakness. But that’s all it has to be, is a moment. You might have an off day or not feel confident in your abilities from time to time, but let it simply be that. Don’t keep carrying over those feelings when you know deep down it’s not the truth. Be as kind to yourself as you would to anyone else in your position. Imagine what you would say to somebody else if they were walking in your shoes. You would most likely approach them with compassion, encouragement, and kindness. You deserve to give yourself the same kind of grace.



6. Stop Following Anyone Or Anything That’s Contributing To Your Feelings

I’m going to be pretty candid here. When I first started on my writing journey, I had to make the decision to unfollow certain people. Although it was unfair, I was comparing myself to where they were vs. where I was. Especially since I could hardly secure a writing gig at the time. I’ll never forget calling my mom one day to tell her how I felt. It was then, she bluntly asked me: “Why don’t you temporarily unfollow who or whatever is upsetting you?”

Taking myself out of the situations that affected my mental health was one of the best things I did for myself. Unfollowing somebody or something that’s contributing to your feelings isn’t petty. We should always be happy for other’s success, regardless if we’re not seeing it happen in our own life yet. But sometimes we aren’t in a good headspace to be able to separate that. Working through those hard feelings takes time. In the meantime, it’s okay to unfollow anyone or anything that’s harming your mental health. But one day, when you overcome those feelings, you’ll be able to completely separate that. You’ll be able to be happy for other’s success, no matter where you’re at in your own journey.

Unraveling the feelings of imposter syndrome can be difficult to sort through. Dig deep to discover why you are feeling the way you are. It’s okay to feel your feelings but separate them from what you know is the truth.  With anything, overcoming imposter syndrome takes time. Even if you have to take the smallest steps until you can overcome it completely. You owe it to yourself to envision your success and believe in it with everything you have.

Leave a Comment

24 Comments

  1. 1.25.24
    Julie Carroll said:

    This hits close to home. I am so proud of you.

  2. 1.26.24

    This is so helpful! I think so so many of us have suffered with imposter syndrome. Believing in our own abilities is a powerful thing, as much as it can be easier said than done!

  3. 1.26.24

    This is so helpful! Thank you for your vulnerability while sharing these tips. Great info!

  4. 1.27.24

    Excellent post and topic that’s not usually discussed-imposter syndrome. Self-respect, selfcare, and knowing I am great just as I am enables me to believe in myself and my “gifts”. Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

    • 1.29.24

      Thank you! Absolutely, all those are so important for us to focus on when we’re experiencing those feelings.

  5. 1.28.24
    Giada said:

    I suffer from Imposter Syndrome as well, and it’s so frustrating! It’s a constant battle. I’ve also found out that other people sometimes act as a trigger, so unfollowing those accounts is such a great trick!

    • 1.29.24

      Yes, it’s definitely an “out of sight, out of mind” thing! & it’s not to say it’ll always be that way, but just while we’re learning to work through the heavy emotions with imposter syndrome.

  6. 1.28.24
    Riyah Speaks said:

    Thank you for sharing these tips. People underestimate just how bad imposter syndrome can be for some and it’s important to understand that and how to manage it.

    • 1.29.24

      Absolutely!! I think that was part of why I struggled for so long—it felt like nobody around me personally went through it. But it’s definitely a real thing & so much importance in recognizing how to manage the feelings that come with it!

  7. 1.28.24

    I can totally relate to imposter syndrome personally. Very eye-opening post. I appreciate you being so open about it.

    • 1.29.24

      Thank you so much! For so long I ignored how I felt, until I laid it all out and realized there were ways to overcome it. I’m really glad it resonated with you!

  8. 1.29.24
    Desiree said:

    I absolutely needed to read this article. Thanks for sharing! I feel this way often because the other content creators in my niche have all of the expensive gear and I usually just do the best I can with what I have. I film on an iphone and you won’t see me wearing the $300 pants other outdoor creators wear. I know realistically it doesn’t make me “unworthy” but it definitely makes me question myself at times.

    • 1.30.24

      I’m so glad this post helped you!! I’m sorry you’re experiencing those feelings. It’s really easy to get caught up in self-doubt or the pressure of comparing ourselves to other creators (especially in this field!).
 


      BUT, what I think is most important is knowing that your worth isn’t attached to those physical items. What always keeps me going is knowing that we each have our own unique perspective that we bring to the content we create—which will never match somebody else’s (& it doesn’t have to!). Your audience will love your style because it’s yours, regardless of what somebody else might have. I hope this helps, thinking of you!

  9. 1.29.24

    Wonderful post! Thank you for the suggestions. It’s an on-going undertaking on my part. 😊

    • 1.30.24

      Same here!! It definitely still happens from time to time for me, but remembering what’s most important always helps!

  10. 1.29.24
    Jenna said:

    This post was so helpful. I love #4: Don’t Obsess Over What Could Go Wrong, Focus On What Could Go Right. I try to think this way. Thanks for sharing!

    • 1.30.24

      I’m glad you found it helpful! Me too I think it’s hard to think that way sometimes when we’re so caught up in our own situation. Shifting our perspective and seeing outside the box can help so much.

  11. 1.29.24
    Kristin said:

    Inspiring post and I understand how it would be important to unfollow others who bring you down. Keep writing.

    • 1.30.24

      Thank you so much! Yes it was something I really had to learn how to navigate throughout the years, but once I learned there’s a space for all of us it helped lighten those feelings of comparison. I appreciate you reading!

  12. 1.30.24
    Susan said:

    Couldn’t agree more! Focusing on the wrong things AKA a negative mindset, keeps us from accomplishing our true potential.

    • 1.30.24

      Yes, it really does! & sometimes we don’t even realize it until we’re able to step outside our situation. Staying positive regardless of a situation can change our whole situation around.