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How To Defeat Impostor Syndrome This Year

Written by: Dr. Lisa T. Lewis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You've invested the time and energy to fine-tune your skills and master your craft. However, you feel like a fraud in danger of being exposed when someone praises your work. Who doesn't want to be commended for their work? Do you think your achievements are just a matter of luck? If so, you may be experiencing Imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is the term psychologists invented in the 1970s when they studied successful women. Now, they know that men are just as likely to be affected.

An estimated 70% of adults experience the symptoms at least occasionally. You may be especially vulnerable when you're trying something new or celebrating a momentous occasion like a job promotion.

Impostor syndrome may be caused by your personality or how you grew up. Whatever the reasons, you can stop undermining yourself. Learn to experience doubts without letting them interfere with the happiness and success you deserve.

Changing Your Thinking:

Remember your achievements. Review your track record. Putting your victories in context will show you that they're not flukes. You don't have to look very far as a single mother. You are the Chief Executive/Financial Officer of your home as you manage your career and children on your salary.

Give yourself credit. Change your self-talk. When you catch yourself becoming critical, congratulate yourself instead. Reframing your thoughts will help you view yourself in a more positive light.

Accept uncertainty. Impostor syndrome is often associated with perfectionism. Embrace yourself unconditionally, including your strengths and weaknesses. Set realistic goals and expectations. Arm yourself with the free Single Moms Love and Money Success Kit.

Validate yourself. Free yourself from needing the approval of others. Live up to your standards rather than relying on approval from others. Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings so you can manage them effectively.

Appreciate effort. Do you regard struggling as a sign of weakness? In reality, success often requires careful planning and hard work. Failure is the stepping stone to success. You're closer than you think to achieve your desired outcome.

Changing Your Behavior:

Talk it over. Impostor syndrome can be a complex cycle to break because your first impulse is to cover it up. On the other hand, revealing your insecurities will help you put them in perspective.

Build support. Ask family and friends for help. Having the courage to be vulnerable will boost your confidence and strengthen your relationships.

Fight stereotypes. Feeling like an outsider can contribute to impostor syndrome. For example, maybe you're looked down on as a single mother by your coworkers. Look for ways to turn that diversity into an advantage instead of feeling awkward about being different.

Be spontaneous. You may be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself if you frequently over-prepare for various events. Pack a picnic lunch for you and your children. Have an impromptu picnic in the park instead of going directly home after their school event.

Accept compliments. Can you receive praise graciously, or do you secretly want to run and hide? Practice saying thank you sincerely. You'll create a more pleasant experience for yourself and your admirers.

Find a mentor. Changing long-standing habits can be challenging work. Working with a mentor will give you the benefit of ongoing feedback from someone you trust. You may also feel more accountable knowing that someone else is monitoring your progress too.

Teach others. Recognizing your areas of expertise can be tricky when knowledge and skills build up slowly over time. Instructing others is an excellent way to learn more about yourself while providing a valuable service. You've got skills; let them shine.

Stay relaxed. Challenging situations are likely to trigger any defense mechanism. You'll find it easier to be authentic if you manage daily stress. Block out time for meditation and physical exercise. Slow down and take a deep breath if you find yourself starting to question your worth.

Take risks. Impostor syndrome can hold you back from trying new things. Make a list of projects that excite you and take pleasure in learning as you go along. The risk is worth the reward. Motherhood is on-the-job training too. You're already taking one risk; what's one more?

Build your confidence and sense of belonging. Overcoming imposter syndrome will help you feel more comfortable with yourself and more satisfied in your achievements and life.

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Dr. Lisa T. Lewis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Lisa T. Lewis, The Belief System (B.S.) Boss®, through her Belief System training, teaches career-oriented single mothers how to provide abundantly and effortlessly for their families so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals without stress or guilt. A certified John Maxwell Team Coach, Teacher, Speaker, and Trainer, Dr. Lisa is also the best-selling author of Making B.S. Boss Moves: The Four R’s to Achieve Success, and The B.S. Boss Blueprint: A Guide to Perpetually Succeed. She also hosts, The Blueprint, a streaming TV program that helps you design your life’s vision and goals one episode at a time! She incorporates her 30+ Years of Leadership & Management in the Public Sector (Budget and Finance), Certificate in Public Leadership (The Brookings Institute), Certificate in Personal Development & Executive Coaching (The Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute), and Ordained Elder/Clergy (Greater Saint John Cathedral) experience to the table in service to clients.



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