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Imposter Syndrome: Why You Feel Like A Fraud And How To Overcome It

Hello, am I worth It?

We’ve all been there – feeling like we’re not good enough, doubting our abilities, and questioning our accomplishments. This is what is known as imposter syndrome, and it is something that affects so many of us.

The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to become aware of it. Once you know that imposter syndrome is the root of your self-doubt, you can start to reassure yourself and believe in your abilities.

One way to do this is to seek out personal advocates – people who will believe in you and your abilities. Advisors and mentors can be great personal advocates, as they can offer you guidance and support.

Finally, remember that you are not alone. So many women in leadership positions face imposter syndrome. This is, unfortunately, not new.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy, insufficiency, and overall lack of self-confidence when it comes to performance. It can be a result of comparing yourself to other professionals or feeling unqualified for the opportunities presented to you. The symptoms of Imposter Syndrome lead to a fear of failure, which can block your success.

Although Imposter Syndrome is experienced differently by everyone, some common symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling like you are a fraud and don’t deserve your success

  • Letting the fear of failure keep you from taking risks

  • Constantly seeking validation and approval from others

  • Doubting your capabilities and questioning your accomplishments

  • Believing that you are “not good enough” to succeed

Imposter Syndrome can lead to procrastination and fear of failure. It can make you feel like you don’t have the ability to handle your job or the next challenge. However, with the right support and understanding, you can overcome Imposter Syndrome and achieve success.

Why do so many people suffer from imposter syndrome?

The experience of Imposter Syndrome can manifest itself in different ways for different people. On an individual level, it can cause an individual to feel overwhelmed and experience feelings of anxiety. It can prevent them from taking risks and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

On a larger scale, Imposter Syndrome can also keep individuals from achieving their full potential. It can cause a loss of confidence in their own abilities and make people unwilling to accept new opportunities, which can lead to stagnation in their careers.

In addition, the prevalence of Imposter Syndrome among women in leadership roles is especially concerning. Women have historically been excluded from opportunities in leadership roles, and their underrepresentation can lead to feelings of inadequacy and cause self-doubt in their abilities.

The good news is that Imposter Syndrome can be managed. With proper awareness, it can be dealt with more effectively. Achieving this level of awareness begins with understanding the common causes and learning how to recognize the symptoms. This can help individuals recognize the patterns and reactions that accompany imposter syndrome and lean on positive coping strategies to move forward.

How can you overcome imposter syndrome?

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome requires taking a few proactive steps, including:

  1. Acknowledging and accepting your feelings of uncertainty and being mindful of your triggers.

  2. Challenging your self-doubt with facts and tangibly noting down successes and accomplishments to reassure yourself.

  3. Becoming aware of the cultural and institutional contexts and power dynamics and how this can affect your perception of your capabilities and worth.

  4. Seeking out role models and mentors who will provide inspirational support and guidance.

  5. Cultivating positive personal habits and wellness to optimize mental resilience.

Having supportive personal advocates ranging from organizational allies to mentors can also be invaluable. Having a confidant, trusted partner, Chief of Staff, or a coach can help to focus on teaching imposter syndrome management strategies to foster resilience and confidence.

Throughout it all, it is important to remember to be kind to yourself and to recognize and celebrate your successes. Believe in yourself and your capabilities, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.

What role do personal advocates play in overcoming imposter syndrome?

Personal advocates give individuals an outlet to share feelings while providing a constructive, non-judgmental environment. They can be a sounding board to help you identify your goals and objectives, as well as advise and challenge any assumptions you may have.

Personal advocates also instill confidence and provide reassurance. They encourage you to challenge insecurities and move past any self-doubt and fear. They remind us to stay true to ourselves and accept our unique facts, no matter how different they may be from the norm.

Advocates can also provide advice and guidance on how to handle difficult conversations and situations because they are familiar with you and the context in which you are operating. They equip you with the proper tools to navigate through the imposter syndrome in the most effective way.

Overall, personal advocates play an essential role in helping you navigate and build your confidence in overcoming imposter syndrome. They are a motivator and provide you with the necessary emotional and intellectual support to stay the course and move beyond any obstacles confronting you.

How can a Fractional COO or Chief of Staff help you overcome imposter syndrome?

A Fractional COO or Chief of Staff can provide invaluable insights and support in helping to overcome imposter syndrome. Unlike an advocate, they are usually employed in an organization and provide pragmatic advice and insight.

A Fractional COO or Chief of Staff can help with maintaining the daily operations, strategy, and tactics to move towards a strategic goal and objectives. Moreover, they provide experienced counsel and guidance on difficult decisions and help to identify and prioritize opportunities to drive value.

The Fractional COO or Chief of Staff is also in charge of developing the proper culture and tone within the organization. This can be highly beneficial when it comes to avoiding imposter syndrome. Creating a supportive, safe environment in which individuals can feel comfortable in their skills and abilities and accept their unique facts, no matter how different they may be from the norm.

By creating an environment based on collaboration, transparency, and accountability, the Fractional COO or Chief of Staff will be able to proactively address imposter syndrome and provide the necessary emotional and intellectual support to stay the course and move beyond any obstacles confronting you.

What are some final tips for overcoming imposter syndrome?

The journey of overcoming imposter syndrome can be a difficult one, but giving yourself the space and time to recognize the opportunities and limitations and obtain the appropriate insights and guidance is well worth it. Here are some final tips to help with this:

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s important to recognize the fact that imposter syndrome is a real thing. Don’t ignore your feelings, and take some time to sit with them and understand what is driving them.

  2. Own Your Accomplishments: Overcoming imposter syndrome requires you to recognize and own the accomplishments that you’ve achieved. Keep a log of all your successes and use it to boost your confidence.

  3. Challenge Your Thinking: Replace unhelpful thinking and comparisons with others with inspiring thinking and realistic self-talk.

  4. Find A Support Network: Find people who can help you in navigating this journey. It could be colleagues, friends, peers, or advisors. Having someone that you can turn to for support and encouragement is invaluable.

  5. Live In The Present: Remember that life is a long journey and that it’s vital to be present in the present moment. Don’t wallow in the past or worry about the future; make the most of the present.


April Eldridge, Owner/Founder of April Eldridge Consulting LLC, is a Fractional COO & Chief of Staff with nearly 20 years of experience in operational management and executive leadership. Working in corporate America for most of her career, April ventured into the entrepreneurship world and focused her efforts on providing the absolute best support possible to her clients. Agility, resilience, determination, and dependability are all attributes that April is well known for, and she highly values her relationships with those she supports.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Fractional COO or Chief of Staff, please reach out to April for a complimentary discovery call. This valuable opportunity can provide you with numerous benefits and there is no risk involved.

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