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Impostor Syndrome in Times of Crisis | Part 2: How to make it work for you, not against you.

AUTHOR: Mădălina Vilău
Leadership Facilitator, Business Consultant, Managing Director @Marketing Insiders Group

Self-doubt it’s just a “symptom” of being human. Feeling like you are a fraud and you don’t deserve your business position or personal reputation is a clear sign of self-sabotage that needs to be shaped into a more constructive path.

Can Impostor Syndrome actually help us in some way? YES! Impostorism can be harnessed for our own benefit, first step is to stop fighting it – only by accepting it you can turn it into a force for good. Time to accept your battle for confidence, time to embrace your fear of failure and do it anyway. Your life’s dreams and inner happiness are on the line.

But how do we deal with the dark side of Impostor Syndrome and use it to empower us to thrive?

Self-awareness and growth – get inside your head by getting outside of it for a change, seek feedback and answers from colleagues and friends.  Cultivate relationships and open dialogue as much as you can, it will heal the bad and make room for the good in your life. Start executive coaching or mentoring and leadership programs. This is by far the best investment you will ever make. Choose yourself above anything else, and start figuring out how you are wired and how you can improve the quality of your life all around.

The power of not knowing it all – most people see “I don’t know” as a weakness. Choose to be vulnerable, that is actually a sign of courage and strength. Yes, you read that right! Leaders are not omniscient gods, they are innovators that embody trial and error, failure into their strategy for evolution. Admitting that you are, in fact, human 🙂 will be so liberating and it will unlock all your potential.

Risk over comfort – in order to live your best life instead of just existing in a “play safe” mindset you need to get used to taking risks and step outside your comfort zone. Know that your Impostor Syndrome fears and anxieties are signs that you have started this journey towards mastering the best version of yourself, you are leaving your old self behind.

Taking care of yourself first – as a leader, doing better, doing more in business and in personal life should start with you. An empty cup can’t fill others cups. Exercise, watch your diet, choose the people you surround yourself with wisely, spend time outside in the sunlight, make sure to have a therapist or a mentor in your life– do it all to boost your serotonin levels. This is a non-negotiable everyday task.

Self-talk and blockages – talk to yourself like you would talk to/encourage someone else. Spot negative thought patterns and replaced them with action plans for improvement. Be kind to yourself.

 “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”

Charlie Chaplin

Impostor Syndrome can be both devastating and enlightening for a company or an individual. By knowing and living the “symptoms” inside-out, leaders and innovators can steer the people in their organizations away from this type of struggle, and actively shift the perspective by building a culture that defeats the toxic side of Impostor Syndrome. Here are just a few paths to getting there: encouraging open team talks, implement accountability mechanisms, set clear requirements for success for people to evaluate themselves, make sure that bias and exclusion are perceived as the enemy, invest in training and development programs, make sure your employer branding is a priority, and more.

A healthy organizational culture will encourage people to do self-evaluation the right way, to speak up, to say NO, to ask for HELP, to dare to experiment, to rewrite their life stories with positive, collaborative narratives, and to focus on progress not perfection. Overthinking to find a perfect solution for a challenge will freeze making decisions and taking action. The ultimate goal is to keep things moving.

There is a syndrome in sports called ‘paralysis by analysis.

Arthur Ashe

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Shutterstock Photo ID 676301572, by zaidi razak.



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