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6 Telltale Signs You’re Battling Imposter Syndrome

And What To Do About It

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

INTRODUCTION

Imposter Syndrome is like that uninvited guest at a party, popping up when you least expect it and lingering a bit too long. It's sneaky, it's persistent, and it has a way of making even the most accomplished leaders question their worth. In the thick of meetings, decisions, and daily leadership challenges, it’s easy to feel alone in these moments of doubt. But here’s the thing – you’re in good company (an estimated 70% of leaders suffer from Imposter Syndrome), and more importantly, there’s plenty you can do about it.

1. Perfectionism

Are you setting impossibly high standards for yourself? Leaders battling imposter syndrome often strive for perfection in every task, a feat that is more often than not, unattainable.

What to Do: Acknowledge that perfection is an illusion. Set realistic goals and celebrate your progress. Remember, every leader makes mistakes; it’s what we learn from them that counts.

2. Overworking

Find yourself the last one to leave the office or log off? Overworking is a common manifestation of imposter syndrome, as leaders feel the need to put in extra hours to “prove” their worth.

What to Do: Trust your team. Delegate tasks and understand that it’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

3. Undervaluing Your Expertise

Do you often attribute your success to luck rather than your skills and qualifications? Leaders grappling with imposter feelings might feel like they don’t truly belong in their position.

What to Do: Start a success journal. Regularly document your achievements and the skills that helped you reach them.

4. Fear of Failure

Are you terrified of making mistakes? This fear can hinder innovation and bold leadership moves.

What to Do: Embrace failures as learning opportunities. Adopt a growth mindset and recognise that every leader faces setbacks.

5. Difficulty Accepting Praise

Do compliments make you uncomfortable? Leaders with imposter syndrome often deflect praise and attribute their success to external factors.

What to Do: Practice receiving compliments graciously. Acknowledge your efforts and the role they’ve played in your achievements.

6. Feeling Like a Fraud

Ever feel like you don’t deserve your role, and soon, everyone will find out? This is a classic sign of imposter syndrome.

What to Do: Seek mentorship and engage in coaching. Challenge negative thoughts and talk about your feelings with trusted colleagues or a professional.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As leaders, we are often our harshest critics. Recognising these signs is the pivotal first step towards overcoming imposter syndrome. The journey to authentic leadership requires embracing your vulnerabilities and transforming them into strengths. So, take a moment, reflect on these insights, and ask yourself, “What step can I take today to lead beyond doubt?” Remember, leadership is not about perfection; it’s about progress, authenticity, and resilience.

RECOMMENDED READING FOR FURTHER INSIGHTS

If you’d like to dive deeper into understanding and addressing imposter syndrome, here are a few books that I believe provide valuable insights and actionable strategies:

"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck: Psychologist Carol Dweck shows how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area of work and life.

"The Impostor Cure: How to Stop Feeling Like a Fraud and Escape the Mind-trap of Imposter Syndrome" by Dr. Jessamy Hibberd: Dr. Hibberd explores the reasons why many high-achieving people often feel that they are not deserving of their accomplishments, providing tools and techniques to help you better understand and overcome imposter syndrome.

"The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It" by Dr. Valerie Young: Young delves into the reasons why many accomplished women feel undeserving of their successes and offers actionable steps to conquer such feelings.

Thanks for reading!

Have a great rest of your week :)

Kaley

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