How can I overcome imposter syndrome?
I’ve got my dream job doing campaigning work for a charity, but in my gut I feel I don’t deserve it and can’t do it well enough. How do I believe in myself and conquer imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is something that has happened to you, not something you are. At some point in your life, you have had people tell you you aren’t good enough, whether it was through snide comments or simply neglect. Whatever they said was not based on fact, and it’s not relevant now.
If you want to do the deep work, reflect on all the reasons – starting right back in childhood – that you don’t feel good enough, and treat them like mosquitos, swatting them one by one with the facts of how capable you are today. Forgive your child self, give them a little cuddle, show them empathy, but remind them that you’re a grownup and you are good enough now. This can be a harrowing process, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it forces you to confront why you feel the way you do about yourself.
Then move on to today. Write yourself a single-page love letter – the super-mushy kind – about why you’re so special. We’re all special in our own way. Write about how talented and strong you are. Pull out examples of when you were so damn smart and gorgeous, of when you were of service to others, of when you were needed.
Ask friends to help if imposter syndrome is blocking your recollection of your good qualities. Use as many examples as possible. Root it in fact and flower it with praise. Fold that love letter up and keep it in your wallet and read it every day on the way to work. You’ll be doing that secret smile that people in love have on the bus, only you’ll be in love with yourself.