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  • Writer's pictureSarah Keates

Imposter Syndrome: 5 Top Tips to Overcoming It

Today, for #worldmentalhealthday2019 I thought I would share some tips as a way of reaching out. I have often found that although lots of people say their door is open or they are there to talk, when you're struggling with mental health, this is the last thing you're able to do.

So instead - I would like to impart some wisdom that I have gained for one of the most annoying aspects of my anxiety, “Imposter Syndrome” in the hope that it serves to help others.

So here are my Top 5 Tips to Beating Imposter Syndrome.

1. Recognise what it is!

Firstly, just recognising that this is a syndrome can help! For those who don't know, Imposter Syndrome is that sudden feeling that you shouldn't be here' or that 'everyone has figured out that you don't actually know anything' and it manifests itself in cold sweats, mild panic attacks, stopping your sentence part way and not being able to remember what you were going to say. For me – being a woman in a heavily dominated male environment often left me subconsciously thinking I wasn’t in on something they all knew already. This has certainly never been the case, and quite often is the other way around. Think about what sets you off and prepare or educate yourself for it. Find some titles that resonate with you and read up on the subject.

2. Write a new mantra

Think about that thought that circles your head when you’re in a meeting or giving a presentation; “Everyone thinks I’m an idiot,” or “Why the hell am I here I have nothing to give.” That thought is actually a mantra that you can change. Once you hear it appearing try replacing it with “I’ve got this” or “Everyone is in the same boat” Also, take a deep breath before you say it! Oxygen is amazing!

3. Forgive your mistakes

When a person who strives for perfection makes an error, the first tendency they have is to think ‘I have failed’ and this leads into a spiral of negative, self-deprecating thoughts. Be kinder to yourself, mistakes are made by everyone, take those mistakes and use them as a starting point for coming up with a solution.

4. But I feel like I’m just winging it!

That feeling of ‘I’m just winging it’ is actually a much sought after skill! Winging it, put a better way, means being adaptable, creative and owning the ability to take things in your stride. Embrace this attribute and see it as the positive skill it is

5. Remember that you are not alone!

A lot of people suffer from Anxiety / Imposter syndrome or similar, having been documented in people in business all the way up to C-level. Remember that everyone in the room is a human! I have found that if this happens to me; I smile at everyone in the room and say “ooh I don’t know what happened there, my mind went blank for a second!” People suddenly recognise that I’m a human and smile, the general feeling in the room lightens, and I carry on with what I was saying.

PS: Due to imposter syndrome this very article almost didn’t get published! It isn’t going to be an easy journey, but it will certainly be a more fulfilling one!

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