3 Ways Thought Leaders Can Combat Imposter Syndrome

Even the most successful professionals can doubt their abilities and feel like a fraud internally. 

Some may experience intrusive thoughts such as, “What if I’m not as competent as others believe me to be” or “I did nothing to earn my success”. While others may set extremely challenging goals and feel discouraged when missing the mark.

You may believe your upcoming book launch will fail due to you not providing enough value for readers or question why you were chosen to give a keynote speech centered around leadership. 

If you find yourself struggling with self-doubt, attributing your success to external factors, and a fear that you won’t live up to others expectations, you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. 

Merriam-Webster defines Imposter Syndrome as a psychological condition that is characterized by a persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments, accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.

So what now? 

Here are three direct ways YOU can begin to overcome and conquer your Imposter Syndrome:

  • Stop dismissing your accomplishments and start celebrating them

Even if accomplishing goals or hitting big milestones is a frequent event within your day-to-day life, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be acknowledged. Ignoring your successes while zoning in on your shortcomings, ultimately leads to a feeling of overall failure. 

This can look like sharing with your social community the Forbes feature you had been working towards for months, and welcoming their shared excitement and support for you. This could also be a simple shift in the way you think after hitting a big personal goal: Instead of, “That was just pure luck” try taking a moment to think about each of the steps you took to hit that goal and provide the evidence your mind might need. 

Another small exercise I like to do from time to time is something I call The Morning Brag. On days that I struggle heavily with the feeling of failure, I walk up to my bathroom mirror and try to practice “bragging” about myself, similar to positive affirmations. Whether it’s noting my personal strengths or patting myself on the back for a few quick wins, I always walk away feeling more confident in my abilities. 

  • Limit the amount of unrealistic expectations you place upon yourself 

Individuals who suffer with Imposter Syndrome often tend to be perfectionists as well. While this higher standard may mean an increased work drive and a passion for going above and beyond, it’s highly unsustainable and sets you up to be discouraged by your failures. 

Going after a guest article with Wall Street Journal while still needing to build credibility within your thought leadership space is not the best use of your time. Instead, focus on niche media outlets with loyal audiences and high engagement. 

If you have a list of 20 things you want to accomplish today and you finish 18 tasks out of the 20, you have reached 90% of your daily goal. That means you just got an A! 

Remind yourself that there will never be consistent success without realistic objectives.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others 

You as a thought leader have a personal story, purpose, and drive behind everything you do. You have something unique that attracts people into your community and further nurtures them to engage with you and your content. 

You provide innovation and newfound ideas through the experiences and traits that set you apart from everyone else. As Brene Brown once said, “Stay in your own lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy”. 

Take some time this week to write down your personal why and three distinguishing traits you have that set you apart from the crowd. You can then utilize your purpose and build upon it in order to continue your mission-driven thought leadership

If you’d like some reassurance from an expert, email info@zilkermedia.com to set up a call!

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