How to beat imposter syndrome

Do the phrases “I’m lucky to be here” “I’m not good enough” “I don’t deserve this” sound familiar?

Most of us have experienced the feeling of not being capable or good enough in both our personal and professional lives. CIM Scotland recently welcomed Kynesis founder, Caroline Donaldson to lead a Webinar Express about all things Imposter Syndrome and lead us through her guide to ridding ourselves of those inner thoughts that have a knock on effect on that all important confidence and self esteem.

As many as 70% of us are likely to experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in our personal and professional lives, but high achieving women are most susceptible. To get scientific for a minute, the direct link between testosterone and self confidence means that those of us with less testosterone in our bodies are far more likely to feel strong symptoms of imposter syndrome, including anxiety and self doubt.

Caroline laid out a handy inclusive guide to helping step away from the imposter mindset and beginning to appreciate self worth, celebrate milestones and maximise confidence.


Pillar 1 - Recognise it for what it is

Wobbles are normal

It’s always helpful to remember that everyone feels like an imposter sometimes, and that’s ok, as long as you recognise it for what it is. Our emotions can be determined by a lot of factors when it comes to the work environment and it’s completely normal to experience feeling anxious and stressed during periods of time where you are starting a new project or progressing professionally.

However, with the negative comes the positive and it’s important to remember those moments of ‘flow state’ where things are going well and we begin to experience a more confident, assertive and all round positive attitude. Once we learn to separate the anxieties experienced within the ‘wobble’ from our inherent feelings, we can begin to say goodbye to the feeling of not being good enough.

Be kind to yourself

Ever heard of a self fulfilling prophecy? In short this can happen when we tell ourselves something is true enough that we actually start to believe it. Well, every time we utter phrases such as: “I’m not good enough”, “I’m just lucky to be here”, “I’ll get found out eventually” we are simply giving into our insecurities and encouraging our brain to actually believe them to be true. How do we stop this? It’s a lot more simple than you might think- practice some self-assurance. Every time you feel those negative thoughts creep in, try to battle them with some positive reinforcement- “I’m trying my best”, “I’ve done well today” - You’ll be surprised how well it works.

If you keep telling yourself "I'm not good enough", your brain will start to believe it.  How do we stop this? Practice self-assurance with positive reinforcement e.g. "I've done well today".

Pillar 2 - Stop Comparing

Look after your own uniqueness

Every single person on this planet is unique, with their own skill-set, experience, personality and quirks- so spending time comparing yourself to anyone is never a productive use of time. It’s also always handy to remember that not everyone is as confident as they present, in fact even the loudest person in the room is often battling with their own insecurities- once you can accept this accepting your own position becomes a lot easier. Self acceptance is definitely key.


Pillar 3 - You are NOT Superhuman

Be real with yourself

One way to hurt your self esteem is by giving yourself scrolls of unrealistic tasks and to do lists. A more positive approach to this is managing your own expectations and appreciating your own value. Keeping an active journal, celebrating milestones, learning moments, talents, skills and strengths is a great start to understanding where you are at and what you can do- letting you grow at your own pace.

There’s no such thing as failure

If you don’t get something right the first time there’s no shame in trying again and learning from previous mistakes. As the old saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and neither is a career so don’t let yourself get caught up in disappointments and choose to adopt a growth mindset instead.

As the old saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.  Neither is a career so don’t let yourself get caught up in disappointments.

Pillar 4 - Celebrate Your Champagne Moments

Celebrate the 'little wins'

Celebrating achievements no matter how small they are is a key cog in the process of saying goodbye to that pesky imposter syndrome and building your self confidence. So, the next time you complete a task, get good feedback or anything of that nature- pop it in your ‘smile file’ and feel free to treat yourself to something that makes you happy whether it’s a glass of fizz or a nice long stroll and watch your self confidence gradually grow.

If you have a particularly bad day- flicking through your smile file and reflecting on those positive moments is the perfect pick me up! Your smile file can be kept private at first but as your self confidence grows challenge yourself to share it with others via a blog or social media- what a great way for you to share your achievements with others and encourage them to start doing the same.


Incorporating all of these tips into your daily routine might feel like a big change but it’ll reap a lot of positive benefits in the long run. Start small and remember- mindset is key. Once you shift how you think about yourself, the next chapter will see a new, improved and much more confident you.


Watch Caroline's full Webinar Express on YouTube.