Thriving despite imposter syndrome

This article on Medium is part of a series of pieces looking at how accomplished leaders have thrived despite imposter syndrome. A condition often talked about and cited as extraordinarily debilitating, this Q&A with PPC Executive coach Gia Storms is an interesting and potentially more helpful take on it. 

Instead of seeing imposter syndrome as something that holds you back – Gia instead suggests that if we can identify when we’re in fear – and become clear about that critical part of ourselves when we’re operating in these moments –  we might be able to approach imposter syndrome with curiosity. What’s the 2% of information coming forward that’s actually useful? Is there any way the fear can be instructive? 

If you can be gentle – but firm – with yourself, you’ll be able to dissipate that energy and get back on with making great things happen. 

You can read the full article, here, but I’ve picked out just a few sections I thought were particularly interesting below. 

  1. Imposter syndrome typically shows up when we’re attempting a change, or moving out of our comfort zone – which can signal you’re on the right track
  2. Imposter syndrome and a feeling of not belonging, can, if left unaided transform into physical fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. If we’re interested in making impactful choices – then we need to recognise how this process works inside us and find new patterns of behaviour to interrupt those thoughts. 
  3. Almost everyone experiences imposter syndrome – sharing these feelings creates vulnerability and connection and can become a universally shared experience. When we realise things are universal – we tend to treat ourselves with more compassion
  4. Inner critics at their most basic are coping mechanisms, ensuring we survive childhood and adolescence and assisting us to make the right kind of attention or navigate threats. At some point, we outgrow these mechanisms, and yet the inner critic persists beyond its point of usefulness – they are persistent, annoying, and sneaky and often rob us of joy in the moment.
  5. Fear based thinking only ever serves to keep us in paralysis and negativity

Gia’s five steps to move forward with imposter syndrome

  1. Identify your inner critic 
  2. Get creative about managing fear – put it on an imaginary bench, mute its volume, shrink it to three inches high. Do what you need to do – and what works – for you. 
  3. Call forth your inner confident leader 
  4. Take one small step of action
  5. Tell on yourself to others – there is no tonic to bust the imposter syndrome wide open than telling on yourself 

Hope it’s in some way useful to you today. 



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