How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome in 6 Steps

Deal with impostor syndrome

Posted On February 8, 2021

Do you just feel lucky to have achieved something when you have been superbly prepared and have worked very hard?

Widespread in our modern society in which we are always in competition, and in comparison with others, the impostor syndrome (IS) affects at least once in a lifetime about 70% of people.

If you wish to learn more about the impostor syndrome, its origin, its characteristics, you can read my complete article on this topic Here.

Even if you have been suffering from self-doubt for years, know that solutions exist. Here are 6 different ways to overcome your impostor syndrome.

Exposing your impostor feelings

The first step to overcome your IS is to become more aware of what you’re feeling, how it feels and why.

Track your feelings

One of the most effective ways in this situation is to use your journal.
Each time you experience this feeling, take the time to write down what you are thinking, what thoughts are coming to you, what situations they appear, and why you feel this way.

Is it due to the comparison you make with others? Are you confronted with perfectionism? Do you feel like a fraud and think you are being exposed?

How can we recognize Impostor Syndrome?

  • You feel lucky to have succeeded in this project even though you worked like crazy on it.
  • You are convinced that you are not good enough
  • You feel like a scam and that you don’t belong here.
  • You set impossible goals for yourself
  • You procrastinate for fear of being exposed.
  • You are unable to outsource your work
  • You are a workaholic

There are many reasons to write down your feelings in your diary daily. You will express your sentiments in practical words and become more aware of the moments when you feel overwhelmed by these impressions of imposture and discover the origin of your problems.

Above all, you now have the opportunity to question your thoughts.

Are your thoughts based on hard facts or a reflection of your insecurities? Look for proof and question the opinions you have about yourself.

Take a step back from your feelings, pay attention to your word choices, and cut off the negative talk from your inner voice.

Talk to others

The good news is that you are not alone in this situation. You may be very shocked to learn from talking to those around you how common IS is, even in extremely skilled people.

Find a true friend, a trustworthy colleague, or a mentor and share how you feel and your experiences.

You are not an isolated case. I have been confronted with this situation myself; sometimes, when I write an article, I wonder if I have the legitimacy to do so.

As you share your experiences, listen to the interlocutors’ stories, then try to take a fresh perspective and reassure yourself. You are not alone.


Stop comparing to other people

When you tend to depreciate yourself, one of the most common consequences is to compare yourself to others. We notice the qualities we don’t have, we sometimes envy the results they have, and we blame ourselves for not doing the same.

Comparison with others is always approached from a too cynical point of view towards ourselves without us seeing our own qualities.

People with self-doubt seek recognition and value in other people’s eyes. As a result, they constantly feel that they are observing and judging. In the worst cases, this leads to immobilism.

It is time to get out of your ego. And yes, you have read correctly. Ironically, much of this feeling comes from your ego because it suggests that you think everyone is interested in what you do.

It’s kind of funny in a way to realize that other people don’t care about us and what we do because the reality is that other people are already too busy taking care of themselves to pay attention to us.

Take a step back and put into perspective what others think of you.


Acknowledge your value: List your achievements

Here’s a great way to combat IS. It’s time to recognize your worth and accomplishments.
If you’ve been feeling like an impostor for years, it may seem like it’s hard to find success at first glance.
The goal here is not to tell the story of saving a family from a burning car (if that’s the case, congratulations!), but to list everything you’ve accomplished, even the smallest things that seem insignificant to you.

Here is an exercise I give during coaching sessions, take the time to list 100 things you can be proud of having achieved, created, or produced.

Here are a few examples that you can write down:

-“I learned how to tie my shoes perfectly.”
-“I graduated.”
-“I started my own company.”
-“I got my first job.”


Stay focused on the facts and only the facts. If you want to add an achievement to your list, but at the time you are writing it you are overwhelmed by the feeling that this success is due to an external factor, find the real cause of the success behind it, such as your hard work, your skills, your risk-taking.

You get the idea; the goal here is to make you realize that luck has only a minor role in what you are today.

And yes, you deserve your successes! So be proud of it.


Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism is going to have mainly two very different results. The first is the tendency to want to carry out a project to perfection, which logically means a strong feeling of imposture when the project is finished.

The personal frustration of not having done better gives way little by little to the anxiety that our environment is also discovering these flaws.

The second outcome that we can see is the opposite case, i. e., a project that will never be finished because the feeling of wanting to be perfect is too powerful.
These individuals are convinced that their ideas will be poorly perceived or that the project will not be well received. This will generate too much fear and consequently lead to procrastination, and finally, the project will never be finished.

There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence, but there is a balance to be found between achieving the highest standards and pursuing the impossible.

It’s time to look at your accomplishments in perspective and slowly begin to see what you do well and what you’ve already achieved in the past.

Take a step back so that you are not focused on micro details, but see your work as a whole, and think about how you will be rewarded once the task is completed.


Fake it until the day you don’t need it anymore.

This might seem like a surprising idea, and yet it is one of the best ways to overcome the impression of fraud.

Accept and fully embrace your feeling of being a fraud. You don’t need to be confident to take the leap.

When we were kids, we all played games to pretend to be a cowboy, a doctor, a superstar, or a great athlete. We would then start to interpret, to act as if things were real.

The good news is that you can do the same thing in your adult life, fully embrace the person you want to be, and act like one. Of course, it’s going to be a tough start, so hang in there and be persistent until you never have to pretend again because it will just be you.


Heal your self-esteem

As I explained in the introduction, IS finds its root in unstable self-esteem to go in more depth.

Self-esteem is the way we evaluate ourselves through different criteria. Who am I? Am I an individual who deserves love and respect? Do I love myself? Do I value my qualities and accept my flaws? Do I appreciate who I am?

In the case of the impostor’s phenomenon, a person who lacks esteem will tend to think, “that man/woman who is interested in me must have made a mistake” or “I succeeded because I was lucky, they will finally realize it and fire me.”

A lack of self-esteem leads to the feeling that we don’t deserve what we get.

Nevertheless, it is time to re-evaluate this judgment about yourself, to question these final thoughts you have about yourself, and, above all, to learn to love yourself.


Final thoughts

The IS is very present in our society, at all levels regardless of social status, degree, or salary.

This feeling can cause a lot of pain that disrupts our daily lives and prevents us from fully enjoying our achievements.

The good news is that by doing conscious work on ourselves, the feeling of fraud can quickly disappear.

However, if you think you have tested everything and the results are not satisfactory, call a coach before finding yourself in an even more difficult situation.

The impostor syndrome is not inevitable. Dare a different way, take the time, and embrace your full potential.

Happy Changing, my friends.


Written by Cédric Potard

I'm Cédric Potard, founder and author of this website and former 3D artist in the videogame industry. You can connect with me on my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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