How to overcome imposter syndrome

This month’s expert, Kanchan Prinsloo, specialises in coaching women leaders – especially women of colour. She teaches us how to handle imposter syndrome


How to overcome imposter syndrome

The Enough Experiment is a digital twelve-month column at Psychologies with coach Mandy Lehto. Start anytime.

Each month, we’ll focus on a particular theme and conduct an experiment to see if we can feel better about ourselves in that aspect of our lives. Small changes add up – and I’m experimenting right alongside you.

We’ll be supported by experts via short, informative videos (10 minutes), and we dig deeper with questions and prompts from the monthly downloadable worksheet (10 minutes).

You’re encouraged to share your questions, discoveries and experiences on The Life Leap club on Facebook, where I’ll be offering support.

The real power of this experiment isn’t what happens in the videos or on the worksheets. It’s in how you implement your findings in day to day life.

Catch last month’s experiment on Work with Shelley Paxton, HERE.

Imposter Syndrome

You’re in a team meeting discussing the challenging new project you’re leading, and the familiar self-talk begins:

You have no idea what you’re doing. You’re not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not brave enough. You’re a fraud. They made a mistake choosing you…

Your inner critic may word it differently, but there’s usually a golden thread – a sense of inadequacy, a feeling of not belonging, and the belief that your successes are due to luck, or some other external factor.

Imposter syndrome, or imposterism, is one of the biggest obstacles I encounter while coaching bright, capable women, no matter how accomplished they are. I experienced its wily grip in my previous corporate career too, which kept me mired in self-doubt much of the time.

Because it’s so pervasive, I’ve created another Work experiment this month, focused entirely on Imposter Syndrome. Our expert, Kanchan Prinsloo, a women’s leadership coach, is going to teach us how to kick it to the curb.

Our brains are hardwired for negativity – handy in the caveperson days, as it helped us to anticipate predators and other dangers. Not so handy in the workplace.

In this month’s experiment, Kanchan invites us to start compiling an alternative narrative to the negative musings of our inner critic.

Start with the downloadable worksheet that offers some strategies (I love the email folder idea! I’m calling mine “The Feel-Good File.”)

Then watch the short video where Kanchan shares the experiment.

We’re practicing identifying a trait and a success and weaving those into our dialogue at work more often. Why? The more we practice internalising and owning our successes – and also the values that are important to us, Kanchan says – the less likely imposter syndrome is to set in.

Even better if we learn to speak our traits and successes out loud.

If you’re a woman of colour, Kanchan offers support on her website under RESOURCES. Look for the videos on Imposter Syndrome.

Ready? Let’s get started.

This Month’s Experiment

Step 1: Download this month’s worksheets here.

Step 2: Watch this month’s video, above and here.

Step 3: Want more? Watch this short and brilliant TedX talk HERE.

Step 4: Who do you know who’d benefit from “The Enough Experiment”? Share this link.

Share your experiences on The Life Leap Club on Facebook, and find me on Instagram.

Image: iStock

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