Have you ever been in a room full of people and think you’re the only person who doesn’t deserve to be there? Or maybe you worry you’re not as “cool” or “attractive” (or some other meaningless adjective) compared to your friends. We’ve all been in those situations, and that feeling is called impostor syndrome.
You think you’re an impostor because you believe your skills, knowledge, or self-efficacy don’t match up with the rest of the group. The truth is, you wouldn’t have been invited into that group if the others didn’t believe you deserved to be there. They see you in a positive way for a reason—and it’s apparently a reason you’ve forgotten. It seems simple, but the primary way to overcome impostor syndrome is to remember your positive attributes.
Try this research-based exercise: Select about a dozen of your friends, peers, colleagues, or whoever is involved in a situation that triggers your impostor syndrome. Ask those people to tell you about a time they saw you at your best. Ask if they can write it, record it, or use any other method that lets you capture their memory of you. Their responses will help you spot patterns around what your true strengths are, but also gives you a highlight reel to replay whenever you feel impostor syndrome creeping in. Just reread the stories or replay the interviews. In short, believe you are as amazing as others believe you are, and you’ll learn to overcome your impostor syndrome.