Conquering Imposter Syndrome

Be a Humanitarian

Tips by Laura Donohue

It’s that annoying little voice in your head again making you question yourself. It doesn’t matter if you have the right degree, you’ve done whatever it is your doing several times successfully, it just keeps coming back. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and you’ve lost your gift receipt: imposter syndrome. This nasty monster is a kind of self-talk that makes you feel like you aren’t qualified or good enough to do something that you’re probably actually very good at.

Imposter syndrome usually crops up due to outside forces. For example, if you work in a field in which you’re the minority, you might feel like you don’t belong. This can make you vulnerable to imposter syndrome. It can also take hold due to your identity and society’s expectations of your identity. It can simply happen because people have told you directly that you can’t do it even though they have no idea what you’re capabilities are!

This happens to just about everyone, even to extremely successful people. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Lots of accomplished people have shared their experiences with imposter syndrome and how to fight it. 

  1. Name it and shame it
    1. “It’s imposter syndrome is rearing its ugly head again!” Just simply saying that out loud can help make you feel a little bit better. Write it down too. Hearing yourself and seeing yourself labeling the negative self-talk and self-doubt is more impactful than just thinking about it.
  2. Think back to your hard work and successes
    1. Maybe you’ve made a mistake or two, but think about how much you got right to get to where you are today. No matter how big or small, think back to all of the times you’ve gotten out of bed, helped a friend out, and gave that fantastic presentation.
  3. Power pose!
    1. Amy Cuddy, an American social psychologist, shares her personal experience with imposter syndrome and how she beats it with her evidence based model of power posing. It may feel a bit silly at first, but it really does make a difference. Learn more about it from her TED talk.

To be a good activist, you must believe in yourself. Challenge yourself to feel better about yourself.

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