5 Things You Can Do to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Why Dealing With This Will Help if You Want to Make a Bigger Impact

Neel Raman
5 min readApr 17, 2020

If you want to start a new venture or do something outside your current competence, you will have to deal with and overcome imposter syndrome.

Knowing things you can do to overcome it will support you if you want to make a bigger difference and impact.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

The simplest way to define imposter syndrome is it’s when a person feels inadequate or hesitates to commit to something they want to do, despite having prior success.

Even though they may have the qualifications, competence or accomplished things in their profession, they don’t believe they are good enough to offer what they have. Their feeling of self-doubt prevents them from taking risks or betting on themselves to achieve the success they want.

The Costs of Imposter Syndrome

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, the costs include:

  • Never achieving what you really want, which means you settle for a lesser preference.
  • Allowing fear to keep you stuck.
  • Generating feelings of disappointment, regret and sadness.
  • Quitting on your dreams or what’s important to you.
  • Not making the difference or impact you want to.

Why People Experience Imposter Syndrome

Commons reasons why people experience imposter syndrome include:

  • They have never acknowledged the successes they’ve achieved.
  • They think they were lucky to achieve what they have so far.
  • They don’t believe they are qualified or skilled enough to do something new.
  • They have not developed their self-confidence.
  • Their environments causes them to stay at the level they’re at.

If you want to have success in areas beyond your current experience or competence, you need to overcome imposter syndrome.

imposter syndrome

My corporate career was in logistics and manufacturing management. When I changed my profession and started a coaching and training business, imposter syndrome was a real thing.

Having limited coaching experience, I had a lot of self-doubt initially. I wanted to teach and coach people so they could improve their lives and create more success. My self-talk was unproductive as I asked myself questions such as, “Who are you to coach others on success when you are just starting out?” and “What makes you think you are qualified or have the credibility to coach others?”

The consequence of my self-doubt was I invested more time and money in learning from teachers and mentors than I needed to get started. Instead of learning from hands-on experience of coaching and training others, I wanted to get the qualifications and develop the competence I thought I needed.

While there was nothing wrong with that approach, it prevented me from coaching others, which is what I wanted to do. A turning point was when a mentor said, “It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, or whether you have the qualifications or not, it’s more important to have the mindset that you are here to serve.”

That allowed me to overcome my self-doubt and serve people the best I could and continue to develop and improve myself. This shift in mindset has made a big difference.

5 Things You Can Do to Deal With Imposter Syndrome

Everyone deals with imposter syndrome differently. Here are five things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome so you can continue to serve and make a difference, while enjoying the rewards that come from impacting other people’s lives.

  1. Have a mission or purpose that is greater than your insecurities and doubts. No matter what you do, you will experience self-doubt. Whether you overcome your self-doubt will depend on the reasons you want to do something. If you have a greater calling in life, that will inspire your to get over your doubts.
  2. Develop a service mindset. If you want to serve and make a difference, you can do that from where you are today. To serve others means to put other people first, instead of your fears and concerns. A mindset that will help is, “We teach what we need to learn the most.”
  3. Question your thoughts or beliefs. If you have imposter syndrome, it means you are generating thoughts that are unproductive and most times, inaccurate. Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts or beliefs true, or are they thoughts not serving me?”
  4. Commit to taking one new action. When you are in motion, it will give you greater clarity and also allow you are change something, if you need to. The outcomes you get from taking action will help you identify what you need to do next.
  5. Focus on what you can do rather than why you can’t do something. Most times, imposter syndrome will make you focus on why you can’t or shouldn’t do something. You can do something from where you are now. Focusing on the opposite of being an imposter, which is being a guide, will make it easier to stay in motion.

Final Thoughts

Living with imposter syndrome will not serve you or those you can help. If you don’t overcome thoughts of being an imposter, you will deny others the support you can provide them to achieve something they want.

When you can confidently move past feeling like an imposter, you will make a bigger difference in the lives of others, which means you will make a bigger impact.

Action Step: Assess whether you are dealing with imposter syndrome in any area of your life. Apply the ideas suggested here to overcome it so you can do what you want to.

Question: What are other things you can do to overcome imposter syndrome?

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How to Overcome Your Biggest Fears in Life

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Neel Raman

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