Why Getting Comfortable With Imposter Syndrome Can Help You Beat It

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Maegan Miller, Nike Sales Rep & Career Coach1.61k
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June 23, 2024 at 5:52PM UTC

In a world that’s obsessed with feeling good all the time, it can be hard to experience the “bad” or negative emotions especially in the workplace.

We are taught that we should show up feeling confident 100% of the time and if we don’t, we are incapable, incompetent, and can’t keep up with “the boys”.

So we get caught in a tug-o-war between how we want to be, and how we feel some of the time when that self-doubt creeps in. 

Instead of fighting the imposter syndrome feelings, we should get comfortable with them. And in doing so, it can help us beat them. Here’s why. 

1. Normalizing the full range of emotions can take the scariness out of it.

Here’s the reality of being human: life is always 50% negative and 50% positive emotion. No matter if you are the CEO, killing it in your career or just starting out. We will feel both at every level, and trying to avoid negative emotion just makes it even stronger and harder to get through. By understanding the science behind WHY our brain fixates on negative thoughts and feelings, can help you normalize that it's there, and almost expect it to happen. Things lose their power when they can be viewed as “normal”. Of course you will feel doubtful sometimes. Of course things will not be perfect. Of course you might compare yourself to others. And? No big deal. It’s part of being human and having a human brain. By knowing that it will happen at some point, makes it less of a “shock” to your confidence and allows you to prepare & think through what you will do when you do feel it. 

2. Recognizing that resisting it, only makes it stronger.

Our brain is wired to conserve energy, seek pleasure, and avoid pain to keep us safe from harm, so feeling a negative emotion when your boss throws a last minute meeting on your calendar or feeling incompetent because you realize your coworkers have more experience than you, is something your brain sees as a threat & wants to amplify because it senses it as physical danger so you to be REALLY aware of it. The problem is, we typically let this one circumstance have a lasting impression on how we think and feel about ourselves.

Just like the saying goes - whatever we resist, persists even stronger. And most of us aren't taught how to manage our emotions, so they end up taking over and running the show. Letting the feeling be there can help you process it and move through it faster. It’s like being a kid and saving your vegetables for last. It’s a lot harder to eat them when you keep putting them off, & eating them when they are cold, soggy, and feel like they have quadrupled in size. Being okay with feeling an negative emotion and letting yourself process it, helps you get over it alot faster than avoiding it. 

3. Acceptance allows you to change it. 

After you’ve normalized it and processed it, then you can beat it. You can know, yes you had that thought, and felt a certain way because of it, but that isn’t the ultimate thought & feeling of who you are. It’s not the only truth.
That ONE (or many)  experiences where something happens & you feel self-doubt does not have to be last word when it comes to who you are and how you want to be. Getting comfortable with it is how you “beat it”, because you can then move on from it. 

You can still experience imposter syndrome and doubt yourself and still: 

  • Speak up in meetings.
  • Share your opinion.
  • Advocate for yourself at work.
  • Show up fully & make an impact. 

You can get busy changing your mind about yourself, regardless of what others say or how they make you feel. 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Maegan Little, Certified Life & Career Coach @xomaeganlittle on Instagram & leader of Ask-A-Coach Imposter syndrome FGB group!

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for getting comfortable with imposter syndrome? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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