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How to deal with imposter syndrome

Fiona Kyle
September 12, 2022

The editor in chief of British Vogue, Edward Enniful, recently told The Guardian he suffered from imposter syndrome.

His admission led to an outpouring from a huge range of people in all types of job roles holding their hands up and saying they felt the same way.

So what is imposter syndrome and how can you overcome it - or even turn it into a force to drive you onwards?

Imposter syndrome is the feeling of not being good enough, doubting your own abilities and feeling like a fraud, despite your success. It is estimated that 70% of people experience it within the workplace. It can be  damaging to your mental health, contribute to burnout and hinder career progression.

Here are some top tips for dealing with imposter syndrome:

  1. Acknowledge it. Recognise what you are experiencing and tell yourself that it is perfectly normal.
  2. Talk about it. When you start sharing how you’re feeling, you’ll be surprised who else experiences similar feelings.
  3. Put it in context. Remember that imposter syndrome affects people disproportionately. Research suggests that women from ethnic minority backgrounds are most likely to be affected.
  4. Retrain your inner voice. Work on stopping the negative thoughts and instead accept praise and recognise what you have achieved.
  5. Ask for help. If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, a supportive mentor can really make a difference.
  6. Find resources. There are loads of resources about dealing with imposter syndrome. Look into Ted Talks, podcasts and self-help books on the subject.
  7. Be kind to yourself. Everyone feels anxious and everyone makes mistakes sometimes, that is ok and that is normal.

If channelled in the right way, imposter syndrome can even be considered a positive thing - it can make you put in extra effort and stops complacency setting in.

As Edward Enniful himself said: “Imposter syndrome never leaves you. But I also realise - that’s what pushes me.”