How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome and Accept Your Success

If you find it difficult to accept praise for a job well done or feel as though you’re not as successful or intelligent as others see you, you may be suffering from imposter syndrome.

This syndrome is very common and often seen in people who share similar personality traits, such as a desire to overachieve while holding yourself to unrealistically high expectations. No matter what type of feelings of inadequacy you’re suffering from, there are some tips to use to overcome imposter syndrome and accept your successes.

Identify Your Feelings

The first step in overcoming anything is to admit there is a problem. You must acknowledge you are having feelings of failure or inadequacy, even though your colleagues and friends say otherwise.

Once you admit to suffering from imposter syndrome, you start to change the way you think and act. Taking this action opens yourself up to a variety of ways to handle it.

Share Your Concerns

Other friends and even coworkers may suffer a similar problem. So talk to someone you trust to share your feelings with and let them out. Finding that you are not alone makes the fear more bearable.

Find others who share these feelings, but have managed to overcome it. Working with someone who’s been through it can help you identify your problem areas and bring about change.

Reconsider What Failure Means to You

It’s OK to fail. Failure happens to everyone, even some of the most successful people. Especially the most successful people. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the success you have now.

Remind yourself you learn as you grow and progress. Mistakes and setbacks are part of the process, and not a reflection on you as a person. Two things to keep in mind:

  • What’s the worst that could happen if you make a mistake?
  • Trying, even if you’re unsure, makes you an admirable person and not a fake.

Think of failures or setbacks as opportunities to learn.

Accept Your Success

Accept compliments. If a coworker or boss praises you for a job well done, it’s sincere. There is no reason for someone to give you praise you don’t deserve.

Downplaying your success is not helping you at all. Go back and look at any positive feedback to remind yourself what a great job you’ve accomplished. Read over it more than once if necessary. Own your success.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Stop comparing yourself to others in a similar field — it’s dangerous. Everyone has a different path in life, and just because someone is doing better than you at the moment, it doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Don’t use setbacks as an excuse to berate yourself and give up.

While it may seem that other people reach goals effortlessly, it’s not true. Everyone faces struggles and challenges along the way. The difference is, successful people don’t give up.

Learn to value your own strengths and how you can use them to achieve your goals. Remember, other successful people have been where you are.

Keep Striving to Reach Goals

Continue pursuing your goals. Doing so helps you take action, even if you feel like an imposter. Courage helps you take risks, and if you’ve got the guts to continue despite your feelings and setbacks, you deserve to have the success you’ve worked for.

Consider Therapy

Experts often recommend cognitive behavior therapy for people suffering from anxiety and other disorders, but it can also help you overcome imposter syndrome. This type of therapy works by overwriting the negative thoughts and behaviors in your brain with positive and true messages.

Therapy is not an overnight fix for imposter syndrome. But if you’re struggling on your own, consider it as a step on your path to success. Reaching out for help is one step on your journey, so don’t be afraid to take it.

Keep working on your goals, but also take the time to work on getting rid of these feelings hindering your success. Want more help advancing your career? Or need some motivation to keep you on track of your goals? Feel free to comment, share and subscribe to Punched Clocks.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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