Most people are hit with that sudden confidence killer — Imposter Syndrome — at some point in their career. Our own minds whisper “I don’t know what I’m doing!” “How am I going to pull this off?” or “I’m a fake!”
Thanks a lot brain. That’s really helpful.
Well, here are my top 5 tips for kicking Imposter Syndrome out.
Stand like you’re a winner.
Seriously. Position your body like a boss. I know that sounds strange but research has shown that when people take on big open body postures for three minutes before a job interview, they are more likely to get the job. Apparently it increases testosterone and decreases cortisol, which is associated with leadership. It also makes you feel more powerful. If you’re not convinced, check out this TED talk or Harvard Business Review video. And then sit back in a power pose and feel the chemicals flow.
Act as if.
Fake it till you make it. It might be cliché but there’s a good reason that it is. In the same way that smiling when you don’t feel like smiling increases positive emotions, acting how you want to act will make you feel more confident. So pick a role model, or imagine how you want to portray yourself, and then put on your acting shoes.
The above two points can be helpful in one-off situations. But they’re even more helpful if you practice them regularly. By practice, I mean two things: (1) practice speeches, presentations or conversations at home beforehand, and (2) act-as-if and use power poses regularly.
Thank your mind and move on.
Your mind produces thousands of thoughts a day. That doesn’t mean that they’re accurate or useful, and we wouldn’t get anything done if we paid attention to all of them. Thank your mind, and imagine the thought dropping into a rubbish bin.
Take your mind to court
If you prefer, become a lawyer and assess the evidence for and against your mind’s conviction that you’re a fake. Most of the time, people find there’s more evidence that they do know what they’re doing (I have a degree, I’ve been in this job a few months already, etc). If not, there’s probably good evidence that you’ve been in a similar situation before and managed.
Imposter syndrome is totally normal. Don’t let it stand in your way.
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