7 Ways To Reframe Your Imposter Syndrome

This month, we’re talking about imposter syndrome, and all the ways it can affect your creativity. We’re all subject to imposter syndrome at one point or another, no matter how successful you are. In fact, the more successful you become, the more imposter syndrome seems to rear its ugly head. But since we can’t completely rid ourselves of it, there are a few ways we can reframe our imposter syndrome to make it work for us.

It starts with recognizing it in yourself and others. Imposter syndrome, in a nutshell, can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They seem unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field. High-achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so imposter syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, especially in women. If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, here are a few steps you can take to counteract it and nip it in the bud:

Identify and acknowledge imposter feelings when they emerge. Awareness is the first step to change, so ensure you track these thoughts: what they are and when they emerge. It’s helpful to keep a journal or some kind of cloud-based program like Evernote where you can note these feelings, the situation and what the environment was when it showed up. Identify the feeling, track the circumstances and adjust accordingly. 

Rewrite your mental roadmap. Instead of telling yourself they are going to find out you’re a “fraud” or that you don’t deserve success, just remind yourself that no one has all the answers. Everyone is learning, everyone is growing, no matter how successful you are.

Chat it out. We did a poll in our IG stories the other day, and turns out most people deal with imposter syndrome. You’re not alone. Since there are so many others who feel like imposters, too, it’s better to have an open dialogue rather than harbor negative thoughts alone. Don’t let it fester all alone in your head. 

Consider the context. Most people will experience moments or occasions where they don’t feel 100 percent confident. If you don’t, there’s probably some kind of sociopathic thing happening there (jk). There may be times when you feel out of your depth or unsure of next steps, and self-doubt is a normal reaction to that. If you catch yourself thinking that you are useless, reframe it: “The fact that I feel useless right now does not mean that I really am” or “Just because I don’t know what to do right now doesn’t mean I won’t figure it out.”

Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Everyone is going to fail at some point in their life and career. It might be a giant disaster, or it might be a collection of small missteps. Identify the lessons in these scenarios and use them constructively in the future. 

Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect. We all mess up now and then. Remember that you are allowed to make mistakes and forgive yourself. And on the flipside of that, don’t forget to reward yourself for getting the big things right!

Visualize your success. Visualization and manifestation are so much more powerful than a lot of people realize. Keeping your eye on the prize—completing the task, getting the dream job, launching your own business—will keep you focused, calm and keep those negative thoughts at bay. 

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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram