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Ever felt like a fraud? Have you experienced the feeling that you don’t deserve your success and your imperfections may be discovered at any moment? Did you know that growth mindset can help you to manage and overcome impostor syndrome?

You’re not Alone

Impostor syndrome is much more common than most of us realise. Lots of highly successful people have discussed their fear of being branded a fraud and how it feels to question their own success. The same high achievers, including LeBron James, often ascribe their success to a growth mindset;

“You’ve got to have a growth mindset and you’ve got to be able to grow in losses and be able to grow in wins as well—and see things that you could’ve done better, things that you did well that you can apply to the next game and things of that nature. It’s always a growth mindset for our ballclub.”

Alex Honnold was the first climber to free solo climb the huge El Capitan rock, in Yosemite National Park. He describes his growth mindset approach, “I try to expand my comfort zone by practicing my moves over and over again. I try to work through my fear until it’s not scary anymore.”

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Working on your growth mindset is the most effective hack for banishing impostor syndrome. Take a moment to think about the last time you felt like an impostor. What thoughts went through your mind? How did you respond to the challenge at hand? What did you tell yourself about yourself and your abilities? Chances are, the answers to these questions came from a typical fixed mindset perspective: “I’m no good at this, it’s so easy for everyone else, I can’t do this.” It’s ok to have these doubts, it’s how we respond to them that makes all the difference.

5 Tips to overcome Impostor Syndrome

  1. Recognise impostor syndrome for what it is – self doubt When you understand that most people experience self doubt and a lack of confidence it becomes easier to push through these feelings. When you see that other people have overcome impostor syndrome, believe it’s possible for you to do the same.
  2. Let go of perfectionism The need for perfection can hold you back and prevent you from trying new things or developing existing skills. Override the belief that everything needs to be perfect the first time you attempt it. Push aside perfectionism and instead recognise that each step you take enables you to develop your skills and abilities.
  3. Recall the times you overcame self doubt and experienced success When you’re in the grip of self doubt, recall your past successes. Ground your thoughts in facts and take stock of how your strengths contribute to your achievements. For instance, focus on how you have already used your strengths and abilities to overcome obstacles and develop new skills. Remember your successes and use them to power up to new challenges.
  4. Monitor and adjust your inner dialogue Catch and correct yourself when you use negative language to describe yourself. When you slip into this fixed mindset habit, counterpoint it with a growth mindset response.
  5. Embrace, analyse and learn from failure When things go wrong or when you don’t achieve your goal at the first attempt, flip it. Treat the experience as a learning opportunity. Analysing your performance and adjusting your approach is what leads to success. Learning from mistakes is how we achieve mastery.

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