Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Feeling Confident in a New Role

A common but seldom-discussed phenomenon in the professional world is Imposter Syndrome. This term, coined by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, describes a pattern of doubting one’s accomplishments and a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Whether you are stepping into a new role or have just received a promotion, Imposter Syndrome can often cast a shadow over your success.

Maya Angelou, renowned poet, singer, and civil rights activist, once admitted: “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”

Why Addressing Imposter Syndrome is Important

Imposter Syndrome can hinder your performance, limit your courage to seize new opportunities and undermine your mental well-being. Overcoming it is key to feeling confident and reaching your full potential in a new role.

Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Recognize and Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is recognizing it. When you start doubting your capabilities, pause and acknowledge these feelings. Understanding that Imposter Syndrome is a common phenomenon can be liberating.

Focus on Your Accomplishments

Keep a record of your achievements, feedback received, and successful projects you’ve led. Whenever you feel like an imposter, go through this ‘evidence’ of your capabilities and remind yourself of your competence and strengths.

Seek Support and Mentorship

Find mentors and allies who can provide perspective, validate your accomplishments, and help you combat self-doubt. The process of mentorship can not only reassure you but also provide you with valuable feedback and guidance.

Practice Self-Compassion

Imposter Syndrome often stems from being overly critical of oneself. Practicing self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding when you make a mistake. Remember, nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to ask for help.

Reframe Your Thoughts

Change your perspective. Instead of thinking “I don’t belong here,” tell yourself, “I am capable and I deserve to be here.” Or instead of thinking, “I got lucky this time,” say, “I worked hard for this and I earned it.”

As an example, consider the case of Michelle, a newly promoted manager who was feeling overwhelmed with her responsibilities. She found herself thinking, “What if they find out I’m not cut out for this?” After acknowledging her imposter syndrome, she started reframing her thoughts: “I was chosen for this role because I’ve demonstrated my abilities and commitment.”

Celebrate Your Success

Take the time to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize your hard work, resilience, and determination that contributed to your success.

Remember that even the most successful people sometimes feel like imposters. Albert Einstein reportedly said toward the end of his life, “I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.” As such, know that you’re not alone in these feelings. By acknowledging and confronting imposter syndrome, you can step into your new role with the confidence you rightly deserve.