Last year’s McKinsey’s ‘Women in the Workplace’ report revealed that 75% of female executives across industries have experienced Impostor Syndrome in their career, This might be a rather controversial thought, but the fact that this percentage is so high makes me believe that it is to be embraced, rather than avoided.
I would even go as far as to say that Impostor Syndrome (IS) is something every single one of us is experiencing now, if you haven’t already experienced it in the past. Perhaps we just weren’t able to label it before!

Impostor Syndrome (I.S.) has us wearing a mask to hide away, because our mind is tricking us into believing we don’t belong.

Being able to label a situation or experience can either make it easier to deal with because it means we can find the tools to help us overcome it. But sometimes it makes it harder to deal with, because it can put a negative spin on how we perceive ourselves, which in turn leads to us doubting ourselves.

I.S. is defined as a belief that you are not as skilled, talented, experienced, competent or accomplished as others perceive you to be. Yet, a belief is only a thought you keep thinking over and over again until it becomes real to you.
So I wonder, are we causing the problem for ourselves, and if so, how come it’s so much more prevelant now than it was before?

Perhaps our lack of connection is causing us to create infinite belief loops in our mind and we’re incapable of pulling ourselves out of this cycle because we don’t feel we can talk about it with anyone.
Or perhaps we don’t believe we deserve better because the job market isn’t what it used to be.
Or perhaps we’re buying into the flawed representation of people’s lives on social media, which leads us to believe that other people are doing so much better than we are.

I am finding it easier to deal with Impostor Syndrome, now that I can label it. Because now I have the tools I need to turn those crippling beliefs around. If, however, I had been aware of this label years ago, things could have been a whole lot different for me. Back then I didn’t know about journaling, meditation, affirmations or any other exercises. And I certainly wouldn’t have thought that these would help me push past doubting myself, or change my belief patterns. Least of all would I have asked for help from a coach at the time! But now that I’m aware, I can build the life I’ve always dreamed of having, one step at a day, every single day.

One thing you can do to start embracing Impostor Syndrome is to start journaling.

Journaling daily allows you to focus on the positive experiences in the present moment, and release yourself from any negative thoughts that are repeating in your mind. As I mentioned earlier, a belief is only a thought you keep thinking, so by writing it out, you’re eliminating the thought from your mind and preventing the thought from becoming a belief. Makes sense, right?

Do I Actually Believe I Don’t Belong Here, Or Am I Letting My Mind Play Tricks On Me?

Kiona van Griensven

That’s one side of it. If you’re then also able to celebrate your achievements, you’re creating a win-win scenario for yourself. By celebrating any-and-all wins you remind yourself you got there because of the work you’ve put in, the skills you’ve acquired and the knowledge you’ve gathered. And that is why you deserve to be there!

The following prompts will help you get clarity on where you are today and what you have already accomplished first, and once you’ve identified those, give you direction on what to focus us now. Use these prompts whenever you feel a negative thought come up, so you can give yourself that confidence boost you need:

First, rid yourself of the negative thoughts with the following questions:

  • Why do I think I don’t belong here?
  • What evidence is there to confirm this?
  • Do I actually believe I don’t belong here?

Once you’ve got these thoughts out, it’s time to flip things around.

  • What have I achieved (in my desired area of life) so far?
  • What skills and qualities have I adopted that helped me achieve this?
  • What other evidence is there that confirms I have earned to be where I am?
  • What can I do more of that will lead me to my next achievement?
  • How can I embody that version of me right now?

By doing this every day, you can even strenghten your new belief system by reading back the answers from the day before. Soon enough you’ll start asking yourself; do I actually believe I don’t belong here, or am I letting my mind play tricks on me?

You’ll start noticing after a few days that it will be harder and harder to find answers to the first three questions and easier and easier to find answers to the last 5!