3 Ways to Unlearn Impostor Syndrome in 2024

As we head into 2024, our mission remains the same:

To address the (avoidable) impact of impostor syndrome on individuals and organizations.

Here are a few steps you can take at the individual level to address impostor syndrome:

1. Reflecting on 2023, identify specific ways impostor syndrome impacted your work/life? For instance…

  • Did overworking or over preparing cause you to miss out on time for family, friends, self-care?
  • Did you hold back from going for a promotion, starting or scaling your business, or sharing ideas for fear of being “found out”?
  • Did unhealthy perfectionism cause projects to take longer than necessary?

2. If you could only pick one of these new year goals, which would it be and why? 

  • Be less of a perfectionist (a hard one we know!)
  • Practice a healthy response to failure, mistakes, & constructive criticism
  • Stop being afraid to speak up in meetings or classes
  • Be less sensitive to constructive feedback
  • Understand that a certain amount of fear and self-doubt is normal and not a sign of ineptness
  • Not expect to know everything before jumping in
  • Expect a learning curve. Understand that some things will come more easily than others, e.g. writing vs. public speaking; leading vs. technology, or visa versa
  • Not be afraid to ask for help when I need it
  • Stop expecting to perform at an equally high level in everything I do — at work and/or at home

3. Finally, what is one small action you can take toward achieving this goal? For instance, you might:

  • Choose someone you respect to give you constructive feedback on something you did — and then apply it
  • Speak up at least once in the next meeting or class
  • Make a list of routine tasks where “good enough” is truly good enough

The Bottom Line: You are no impostor!

Even if you focus on just one of these new behaviors, it will bring you closer to finally seeing yourself as the bright, capable person you really are.

VALERIE YOUNG is a global thought leader on impostor syndrome and co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute. In 1983 she designed the first training intervention to impostor syndrome and has since delivered her Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ program to over half a million people around the world at such diverse organizations as Pfizer, Google, JP Morgan, NASA, and the National Cancer Institute and at over 100 universities including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Oxford.

Valerie earned her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was the founding coordinator of the Social Justice Education program, a forerunner to today’s DE&I training. Although her early research focused on professional women—over half of whom were women of color—much of the original findings have proven applicable to anyone with impostor feelings. Her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: And Men, Why Capable People Suffer from Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It has been reprinted in six languages.

Click here now to learn how you can bring Valerie in to speak at your organization.

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