How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome As A Leader

Imposter syndrome is a leadership killer. You cannot lead well when you constantly think you’re not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough to lead.

Worse than that, you can’t lead when you feel you’re not authentic.

I remember presenting to my old youth group one time. I was young, didn’t have much experience, and I stuttered a lot. I felt like a fraud.

When students came up to me after my message, I felt encouraged. They liked it, right? Wrong…

They came to me to recite how many umms, ahhs, and you knows I said during the message. The content didn’t matter. All they saw was an imposter.

Man wearing a gas mask standing in front of a dark and light pink background

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

This stung. I know many people who have been in this situation. After something like this, you feel like an imposter. But you don’t have to give into imposter syndrome.

So, how do you overcome imposter syndrome? I give multiple tips to those I talk to and help with this issue. Today, we’re going to look at a few solutions to imposter syndrome and help you become confident in who you are.

How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome As A Leader

Mindset shift: reframing self-talk

Our self-talk gets us into a lot of trouble. We let ourselves talk negatively about ourselves.

This negative self-talk is terrible for you. Instead, you have to shift your mindset.

You must become someone who can shift your negative mindset into positive self-talk.

When you begin to tell yourself you suckyour message doesn’t matter, or someone else is better than you, banish those thoughts. You have to shift your mindset. You cannot dwell on what you feel. You have to dwell on what you know.

You’ve practiced. You’ve given all you can. Your message is important.

You’re not an imposter. You’re uniquely you.

Embracing vulnerability: sharing your experiences with others:

At the start of this post, I shared something personal from my experience. I made myself vulnerable to you. I hope you saw that when I shared my story about preaching to a youth group.

It’s not easy to be vulnerable. You open yourself up to ridicule.

More importantly: You open yourself up so others can see that they’re not alone.

When we get honest and vulnerable, we help others. We also help ourselves.

Be willing to share those embarrassing, stifling moments. You’ll discover that others are there with you.

Celebrating small victories: tracking and acknowledging progress:

I’m a huge fan of celebrating and documenting your achievements. This is a way to remember that you do add value to those you lead.

One of my favorite ways to do this for me and my writing is to keep a folder in my email inbox that collects the thanks and stories readers share with me. I can go back to this folder when I’m feeling down and know I made a difference.

Your method will be different. You might keep a collection of photos showing the products you’ve created, pictures of people you’ve taught, or some other way to remember.

Whatever you do, ensure you’re keeping track of your victories and progress. Progress is slow and steady, but when you add it all up, the progress you’ve made is huge.

Embracing failure: learning from mistakes:

Our failures aren’t fatal. They’re stepping stones. When we learn to place our failures in the right light, we can learn, grow, and succeed because of them.

Embrace failures when you experience them. Look at them and try to find the positive outcome.

You’ll soon discover that you’re learning and growing from your mistakes.

Building a supportive network: connecting with mentors and peers:

The final thing I’m going to touch on today is that you need a support system to help you overcome imposter syndrome. The people you surround yourself with can encourage, uplift, and remind you of who you are.

Surround yourself with people who are supportive (and honest) of you. They will hold you accountable, tell you the truth, but also encourage you.

The better your network, the less likely you’ll feel like an imposter.

You Can Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome doesn’t have to rule your life. In fact, you can overcome imposter syndrome.

Using the tips above, you’ll feel more confident, find your groove, and lead like never before. You will learn how to eliminate the icky feeling of not being good enough. You will know that you are worthwhile, have something to contribute, and make a difference.

Don’t let your fears and anxiety hold you back anymore. You have the skills and talents to lead well—Kick imposter syndrome to the curb.

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