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5 Expert Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Boosting Your Career Confidence

Inside: Strategies for overcoming Imposter Syndrome from a career coach and mid-career moms with over 15 years of experience helping parents build professional confidence.


Imposter Syndrome is the worst. The pits. Totally sucks.

And I’ll even take off my Elder Millennial hat and go Gen Z for a second because I (poorly) looked up what to say on one of my “you’re old now, deal with it” websites…Imposter Syndrome is low-key giving NO rizz.

(I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.)

What is Imposter Syndrome?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Imposter Syndrome,” think of it like this – Imposter Syndrome is that gross feeling in the back of your mind that tells you, “You’re a fraud; they are going to find you out sooner rather than later.” As you go about your day, you’re just waiting for someone to pull you off the stage and say, “Silly you… nice try, but you haven’t earned this. Make-believe is over.”

Have you ever felt like that? I have. Even as a person with a lot of confidence, I’ve let the imposter syndrome fairies into my brain more times than I’d like to admit. As a parent, as a professional – it’s everywhere!

We can fight back against Imposter Syndrome, though, and we need to to grow our careers. Confidence is key, and we need to get yours back!

Try these 5 strategies for overcoming Imposter Syndrome so you can get that promotion, apply for that job, and build a career you love.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Strategy 1: The “Wins” List

Imposter Syndrome tells us that we’re doing everything wrong and we don’t deserve our current or future success. Let’s fight back against that with some data.

Pull out your resume or LinkedIn profile and think about all of past jobs and responsibilities you have held. Even the act of looking at all of the work you’ve done to date can be helpful!

We can take this to the next level though. For each of your core responsibilities from your previous jobs, ask yourself this question:

“Because I did *this* part of the job well, what was the positive result for the company?

Write down your answers and you’ll start to see how you drive positive impact. Use this to build your confidence (and improve your resume!)

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Strategy 2: Read Your Reviews

If you’re having trouble with our first strategy, let’s move on to overcoming Imposter Syndrome strategy 2, which takes this out of your hands and into your bosses’.

If you’ve saved any of your performance reviews, it’s time to take them out and give them a second read. Often with performance reviews we immediately zoom into the areas of improvement. Even if there are 30 great things on that review, we focus on the bad. (It’s not your fault either – our brains are hardwired to focus on the negative for survival!)

Yet there is usually SO much good that we aren’t giving ourselves credit for, and seeing all of that good through someone else’s eyes can help you as you’re overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

Your boss didn’t just make up all of the good things you did that year – you did them.

Your boss didn’t simply imagine the accomplishments she wrote done – you achieved them.

That’s your stuff on that paper, and when someone else calls it out it helps you to own it.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Strategy 3: Phone a Friend

While you may be feeling down on yourself and you’re worried that you’re a fraud, there are a bunch of people in your life who think otherwise. Let’s start with your friends and family!

When members of my Career Clarity Program are identifying their Career Sweet Spots, we do several exercises around uncovering skills. One of those activities includes picking up the phone and sending out an email or text (maybe even calling them live if you are feeling brave!) to five people who know and love you.

In that message, my clients are supposed to say, “My career coach is making me do an activity to identify my skills, and she asked me to ask YOU what you think. What do you think I am good at?”

(I let them blame me so it doesn’t feel weird.)

The result is always the same. Tons of positive feedback AND examples to back it up. How can you be a fraud if the people closest to you see and feel the impact you make? Pretty hard, right?

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Strategy 4: Talk It Out

Imposter Syndrome can leave us stuck in our own heads. We overthink our shortcomings, make assumptions about our abilities, and let self-doubt accumulate.

Instead of letting all of that mind trash spill over, make a plan to talk it out! Talking with a friend, colleague, therapist, or coach can help you process your feelings in a safe space.

Plus, a well-timed question from a good listener can help you uncover WHERE the fear is coming from and WHAT is holding you back. So much of Imposter Syndrome is about fear, and naming a fear is a huge step in overcoming it. Yoda said it; it’s science!

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Strategy 5: Make a Plan

In all of my years of career coaching, I can tell you that 9 out of 10 people do not give themselves enough credit for their hard work and achievements. People can be very humble and sometimes too humble.

Yet, I’ve also seen plenty of instances where Imposter Syndrome was simply telling someone that they needed to close a skills gap to build their confidence. If you’re not feeling qualified for a role/position/title, use our overcoming imposter syndrome strategies 1 through 4, but then ask yourself if something is missing.

If that’s the case and you are missing a technical skill/experience/ability, get clear on what you need to grow and find a training, volunteer project, or job crafting opportunity to get there. More education is not ALWAYS the answer, but targeted learning can make an impact on your confidence and your ability to excel in your next role.

Let’s Take the Next Step in Your Career

With your confidence on the way up and Imposter Syndrome on its way out the door, let’s get ready to take the next step in your career.

Check out next steps below for all of your different paths forward:

Gaining Career Clarity for your next career chapter

Building your personal brand

Nailing the interview

Networking like a pro

You’ve got this!



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