How to Combat Imposter Syndrome

  • Which of your successes are you not taking ownership of? This question guides students to see that they’ve accomplished more than they actively recognize: finished projects, took notes, worked hard, etc.
  • Which of your beliefs about success are holding you back? This question helps students to recognize limiting beliefs such as perfectionism, that they need a job now, that they aren’t as talented as their peers. A strong follow-up question is “What’s a more useful belief you could adopt?”
  • Which of your strengths are you overlooking? This question refocuses attention on their good qualities. Help them recognize how those strengths have supported their growth and success. Strengths could include: persistence, kindness, professionalism, motivation, hard work, etc. A strong followup question is “How will these strengths serve you throughout your career?”
  • When you beat imposter syndrome, what will you be losing? There is always a secondary benefit and purpose to a habit of imposter syndrome. For most people these include, according to Beverly, “hard and diligent working (but which then became workaholism); determination and focus (which became anxiety and stress); quality preparation (which became over-preparation and procrastination); quality output (which became perfectionism).” We can then ask ourselves “what is a more productive mode of thinking I can adopt instead of the one hidden behind imposter syndrome.

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Daniel Morse

Daniel Morse

2x Founder. Community Organizer. Educator