You know that everyone has imposter syndrome. But they’re not like you, the real imposter…
This hilarious line, which has been circulating the internet for a few years, sums up what it’s like to be a human being who’s suffered from imposter syndrome. On my podcast, I ask each woman I interview what they are still insecure about, and imposter syndrome is one of the recurring themes I hear in the answers.
Recognizing your own flaws is valuable and humility is a quality we desperately need more of in our leaders. But, imposter syndrome manifests that healthy awareness into paranoia and self-doubt. I like to think of it as a little shadowy monster that sits at the back of my brain, chewing all the good thoughts and achievements up, and feeding me back negative ones.
We all have that monster in some shape or form, and we all need to tame her in order to get the most out of ourselves.
So how do you tame the monster of imposter syndrome? Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Pacify the Imposter Monster with Cold, Hard Facts
Award-winning producer, Aradhna Tayal, told me that she looks at her CV every time she feels the imposter monster wriggling. Seeing your achievements laid out in black and white is a fantastic way to remind yourself that yes, you’re more than qualified to be here when the imposter monster is trying to make you forget.
2. Remind Your Imposter Monster that You’re in Good Company
Do you remember Clear Pepsi? How about Google+ or the Facebook phone? Talented people and powerful companies have ideas that flop all the time. And you know what, they survive – and even thrive – in spite of them.
Some of your ideas will flop, too. When they do, channel your inner Zuckerberg and just carry on conquering the world anyway.
3. Parent Your Imposter Monster Like the Child She Is
If you ask a two-year-old to help tidy up her toys and she misses one under the sofa, you don’t yell at her for the one she missed. You praise her for the ones she didn’t. If a nine-year-old comes home with a 99% on her spelling test, you don’t admonish her for the missed 1%. You celebrate the “A”.
Your imposter monster tells you that only perfection will make you worthy, but the adult in you knows better. The next time you stumble over your words during a presentation, fail to spot a typo on a PowerPoint deck, or need to take a step back so you can help your teenager with Zoom school, don’t rise to your imposter monster’s bait. Speak to her calmly and kindly, and lovingly remind her that you are enough.