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Don't Let Imposter Syndrome Stop Your Career Growth

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Imposter syndrome is a common experience in which people fear they are not good enough to be in the room or role that they are currently in. It can be especially damaging to confidence, and prevent you from being the best version of yourself. It can also cause you to work too hard, be overly competitive, and struggle to develop meaningful relationships. During my professional career, I had many battles with imposter syndrome. Most of them I won, some I lost, but here is what I have learned from the fight.

1. Think about the source of the negative thoughts.

Where do your negative thoughts about yourself come from? Are they rooted in failures or narratives dating back to childhood or the early days of your career? Are they based on real evidence, or are they simply your own self-doubt? Once you understand the source of your negative thoughts, you can start to challenge them.

For example, if you feel like you're not good enough because you don't have a degree from a top business school, remind yourself that there are many successful retail executives who don't have Ivy League degrees and even some without college degrees.

2. Challenge if the thoughts are helping you.

Are your negative thoughts helping you to achieve your goals? Or are they holding you back? So thoughts drive you to do better work. Others cause you to pause, or over-fixate on task beyond the point of productive return. Challenge thoughts that are preventing you from taking action towards your goals.

For example, focusing on your work and achieving your goals will be difficult if you're constantly thinking about how you're not as experienced as your colleagues. Instead, focus on your strengths and what you can offer to the company.

3. Reflect on prior successes.

Make a list of all of your accomplishments, both big and small. This will help you to see all of the ways you have generated value in the past. When you're feeling down, remind yourself of your past successes and remember, you would not be in the room or in the role if you did not do the work necessary to get there.

For example, think about a time when you successfully launched a new product line or exceeded your sales goals. What helped you to be successful? Tapping into your strengths can help you recenter your confidence.

4. Talk with someone you trust.

Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or coach can help you process your feelings and develop strategies for coping with imposter syndrome. Sometimes, just talking to someone who understands what you're going through can make a big difference.

For example, when starting a new job, establish a regular schedule for talking with a specific person about how the new role is going, what you are learning, and how you are contributing to the success of the organization.

Key points to remember:

  • Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome from time to time. Even the most successful people have moments of self-doubt.

  • Competency is more important than confidence. Focus on developing your skills and knowledge, and don't worry about perfection. Confidence will come with time and experience.

  • Seek out people that believe in you. Surround yourself with people who support your goals and believe in your abilities. These people can help you to boost your confidence and overcome imposter syndrome.

Remember, you worked hard to get to where you are today. Don't let imposter syndrome stop you from achieving your goals.


Thank you for reading this blog

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

I am a father, husband, executive coach, and former retail executive. My coaching expertise comes from 21 years of leading operation, sales, and marketing teams. I understand what it is like to feel stuck, undervalued, and underappreciated.

I also know what it takes to invest in professional development, climb the corporate ladder, and find fulfillment at work.

Your career path is a scavenger hunt. Each opportunity prepares you for the next. Allow me the opportunity to help you clarify your path and accelerate your professional development.

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