5 Ways to Crush Imposter Syndrome

Have you been doubting yourself and your achievements lately? Or questioning whether you deserve to be where you are? Congratulations, you have imposter syndrome. You’re succeeding in life—but you feel like a ‘fraud’. By definition, imposter syndrome is a nagging feeling of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. People with imposter syndrome feel like they don’t belong, and worry that their friends or peers will discover that they’re ‘faking it’. It can happen to anyone who struggles to a accept and own their success.

Especially when transitioning into college, it’s completely normal to experience imposter syndrome. In fact, 7 in 10 people experience imposter feelings at some point in their life.

Shaking it off isn’t always easy. So, here are 5 ways to crush imposter syndrome.


Acknowledge it and put it in perspective

Whenever you feel like you’re not good enough or don’t deserve to be where you are, ask yourself: Does this thought help or hinder me? Is there some truth here or is it all in my head?

You might not always feel like it but most of the time you’re doing okay, pushing through and trying your best. Sometimes though, you will fail. When you do, remember this: those who succeed don’t stop at one failure, or ten, or a thousand. They never give up until they accomplish what they came to accomplish.

Make it a habit to reframe your thoughts.  The more you practice a skill, the better you will get at it. How you respond to moments of self-doubt and panicked thinking determines its impact.


Internalize your successes

Life’s not easy for any of us, you did something to get where you are now. Embrace it! To get over imposter syndrome, you must first accept that you had some role in your successes. Imposter syndrome has a way of convincing you that whatever you did, wherever it got you, it was due to pure luck.

To detach from these thoughts, you must separate feelings from fact. What did you do to get to where you are now? How much time did you spend studying? Prepping for that interview? Own your success by reframing your reasons for success. Write out a list of your recent successes–they can be a grade, landing a part-time job, or even just a workout. Savor each and every success. Write out what you had to sacrifice for each accomplishment, it’s the least you can do.


Nobody belongs here more than you do

Change is handled differently by different people, it’s important to remember that there’s an adjustment period for everyone. Be kind to yourself. College is said to be the place where you find yourself, you’re not expected to find your place as soon as your feet hit campus.

As a college freshman, you might be thinking: “this person made it too, they must be smarter than me” or “what if they find out I’m not as smart as I come off?” These are all normal thoughts. Everyone feels insecure at times. Just because you feel it now, doesn’t mean you’re an irrational person. Whenever these thoughts start making their way into your head, remember: nobody belongs here more than you do. If you can admit that to yourself, the easier it will be to face situations where you’re different from those around you. Own your uniqueness and embrace your inner strength.


Get this: Authenticity is a hoax

Inauthenticity is what imposter syndrome tries to sell to you. But what does is mean to be authentic anyway? By definition authenticity is closely related to being genuine. Let’s think about this practically. You’re not going to talk to your best friend the same way you do your grandparents.


“You represent yourself to different people all the time, without being dishonest.”

–Kyle Eschenroeder

We all have many sides that live within us. In college, you’re going to interact and connect with people who tap into different areas of your identity. Embrace this time that you have to explore yourself academically, professionally, emotionally and socially. As you grow more comfortable having new experiences, you’ll realize that your being is constantly evolving and there’s nothing wrong with that.


Stop judging your insides to other people’s outsides

Comparing your lows to someone else’s highs in unfair to you. Every time you compare what you think, know and feel to another person’s outer appearance, you will find faults within yourself. Comparing yourself to others often encourages thoughts that your successes are not yours, or that your achievements aren’t worthy enough. Once that happens you find yourself in a vicious cycle of imposter syndrome. This can fuel feelings of insecurity, detachment and social anxiety.

The ultimate way to crush imposter syndrome is to stop comparing yourself to other people. Your college experience is supposed to be unique, filled with highs and lows and completely different from everyone else’s. Knowing how to master the art of being yourself is the most difficult and rewarding life skills you can develop while in college.

Bottom line is – if you’re feeling like an imposter, that means you have some degree of success in your life that you’re attributing to luck. Instead, you should feel gratitude. Validate your accomplishments and experiences. College life requires many skills, you’ll get there, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re transitioning into a new, unsure and overwhelming era. Hats down to you – because the world needs more believers, goal pursuers and doers just like you.

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