Olive Von Topp
How to Fight Imposter Syndrome
Trust me, I fight imposter syndrome on the reg. There’s nothing like switching careers a handful of times to make you question what you’re doing and know and make you feel like a fraud.
But I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t practice what I preach,
So here are a few things I have been working on to try and help fight imposter syndrome. I hope they help you too:
1. Let go of perfectionism
The thing about imposter syndrome is that it comes from the belief that we have to be perfect at what we're doing. That we have to know everything there is to possibly know about the thing we're working on/in before we can say we "I'm a lawyer/coach/executive/boss/parent/student", etc.
We don't. Also, we can't.
Because there is just no way to know everything there is to know (plus you would get really fucking bored). Nor should any person be expected to. Learning is part of the process.
In fact, it's part of the job. And we need to get better at building learning in and understanding it as a very real and inherent part of the process. I'm not talking about taking one wine tasting class and saying you're a sommelier and charging people for your 'expertise'. I am saying at some point you'll have taken enough classes and read a bunch and tasted a bunch of wines and you'll be miles ahead of the average person and you likely still won't feel ready to open up your wine tour company because you don't know all there is to know. But you are. And you will learn what you don't know.
Perfect doesn't exist and learning is essential.
2. Take inventory of your skills and knowledge
You actually do know a lot. You're good at stuff. Seriously, write a list of all the stuff you know and all the skills you have in the area you are feeling like an imposter in. You will surprise yourself.
3. View failure as feedback
You are going to fail. You are going to mess up. You are going to fall. But that's all learning. That's not a reason not to do something or think that you're not cut out for it/an imposter just because you fail.
Failing is feedback on what to do differently. It is learning. And learning is what?
Part of the damn process.
4. Celebrate your uniqueness
Here's the thing- there is no one way to be a lawyer, coach, parent, boss, student, etc.
There are a million ways. And only one way to do it as you.
So often we have an idea of what it should look like- "I'm not a real accountant because 'real' accountants don't swear when they talk to clients" (or whatever your hang up is). Well YOU do. Maybe you're just an accountant that swears.
There is no one way to do the thing or be- you get to do it as you. Celebrate that. Lean into it.
5. Practice self-compassion
And of course, above all, try and be a little gentler with yourself.
You're a human, trying a scary thing, taking a risk, putting yourself out there so the world can benefit you’re your unique skills and talents. having a human experience and you deserve some self compassion.
What would you say to a friend who was feeling like an imposter?
Now say that shit to yourself and allow yourself to believe it.