Wednesday, 11 September 2019

How to stop feeling like a fraud: 7 easy steps to overcome imposter syndrome

Black and white image of people walking across a pedestrian crossing
Image by Michael Daniels (unsplash) 
To say that imposter syndrome can induce self-doubt would be an understatement. It is clear from the increasing number of posts related to imposter syndrome that many people feel like they're are a 'fraud' and that their achievements are a mere 'fluke'.

These feelings can take away your pride in personal achievements, control, and commitment. The first step that needs to be taken in order to minimize imposter syndrome effects is rooted in understanding the nature of this experience. So, why do we experience these "I am a fraud" feelings and how should you overcome imposter syndrome? 

This post will discuss the nature of imposter syndrome and suggest 7 steps to cope with your feelings and overcome imposter syndrome .

What is imposter syndrome? 

Imposter syndrome could be defined as an inability to believe that your achievements are based on your personal efforts or skills. This experience is based on feeling like "you are a fraud" for instance in a job role.

People who experience imposter syndrome are unable to internalize their achievements, consequently distancing themselves away from success. This means that imposter syndrome can lead to self-questioning and distress. 

What are the ways to cope with imposter syndrome?

1. Limit your perfectionism 

Imposter syndrome is often triggered by perfectionism. Especially when you observe yourself making mistakes in your field. Your perfectionistic self is likely to perceive these mistakes as evidence of your incompetence, therefore discounting your past achievements. 

Balanced perfectionism can help you to grow, it allows to demonstrate high standards. Nevertheless, overly focusing on your sense of perfectionism can be detrimental to you. 

You need to understand that it is okay to make mistakes. It is difficult to demonstrate perfect standards at all times. In fact, it is doubtful that perfection even exists. So don't be too hard on yourself. 

2. Come to terms with not knowing things 

You may be an expert in your field, however, despite this expertise, you may still find yourself not knowing answers to some problems that you face. 

People may fall into the jaws of imposter syndrome when they realize that they don't know everything. They may question their level of training, education, experience and even themselves as people. 'I am a fraud because I don't know these things', you may think to yourself. 

To avoid this experience, you need to come to terms with not knowing things. Instead of viewing your lack of knowledge as your weakness or a sign of incompetence - view it as an opportunity to expand. Not knowing things does not undermine your achievements and worth. It is a natural part of human development. 

3. Stop comparing yourself with others 

Imposter syndrome may arise from comparing yourself with other people and their achievements. We always tend to focus and inflate the positive qualities of others, while undermining our own success.

You need to stop comparing yourself with others. Everyone is different, people have unique lives and personal circumstances. You will never know what happens behind closed doors, especially if you compare yourself with individuals on social media. 

Be your own person, don't bring yourself down if someone appears to be 'better' than you. Remember that other people's success is not an indication of your failure. 

4. Ask others for feedback 

Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you are stuck inside your head. This means that due to your clouded perception of yourself, you are bound to perceive yourself in an irrational context. 

To gain clarity, you should communicate with those who spent time with you regularly and know you well. Ask for their feedback about your personal qualities. If you are a blogger suffering from imposter syndrome, ask your readers for their opinion on your blog. If they enjoy reading your blog - this would suggest that you are a successful blogger and definitely NOT a fraud. 

Conversation with another person will help you to see yourself from their perspective. When other people are able to notice your skills and achievements, this means that you are doing well as an individual. Getting feedback from others will help you to gain more clarity and self-confidence. 

Most importantly, try to not reject feedback, especially related to your positive qualities and achievements. Have some trust in people that know you.  After all, sometimes other people know ourselves better than we do! 

5. Try to not let imposter syndrome control you 

You may feel like you should give up because you are a 'fraud', however, you can fight the syndrome by taking charge. Fight your imposter syndrome and act against your beliefs and self-doubt. 

For instance, despite feeling like an imposter or an underachiever, ask for that pay rise or promotion, apply for blogging opportunities. 

Don't be scared to take control of your feelings. Be committed and enthusiastic. It may be difficult at first, but practice makes perfect. If you have to fake your sense of competence, do it. Over time, your imposter syndrome will subdue. Especially if you begin to regularly take charge and ask for feedback. 

6. Learn to accept praise 

We tend to be overly self-critical and ignore any praise that we receive from others. You might behave in a similar way, discounting any positive praise on your skills and achievements. Learn to accept praise and take account of positive opinions. 

Stop thinking that others use praise as a way to please you. If you only focus on negative judgments and ignore the praise that you get, the likelihood of experiencing imposter syndrome can increase. Open yourself to praise. 

7. Remember that you are not experiencing this alone

Imposter syndrome is common. In fact,  70% of individuals experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives (Sandeep, 2016). This suggests that you are not alone in your experience. There are people with similar feelings to yours.

It is natural to feel like a fraud. Focus that you are not alone in your experience, this will help you to cope with imposter syndrome. 

There you have it, these are some ways to cope with imposter syndrome. I hope that you are able to apply this advice to your personal circumstances. Don't worry if finding the ability to perceive your competence takes time. It's okay if you struggle or breakdown in your journey. You will win the battle with the imposter syndrome, it just takes determination and self-compassion. Remember that you are not the only person feeling like a 'fraud'. 

Have you experienced imposter syndrome? If you have any tips on dealing with this experience, share them in the comments section below. 

Thank you very much for reading my blog. If you have enjoyed this post, consider following my blog for similar content. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram. Have a lovely day and take care of yourself! 


  1. Thank you for this! I experience imposter syndrome on occasion with my blog and it's such a weird feeling. Like when I was working on my eBooks I constantly thought, "who am I to be writing this?" I'm glad it's a much more normal feeling than what I thought!


    1. I think we all have these thoughts Jenny! Me including :) Although I haven't had the time to properly get into blogging resources (your ebook included - it is on my list definitely) I am sure that your resources are topnotch! After all, in my opinion you are one of the most experienced (and kind) bloggers out there!


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