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4 Steps to Take When Your Imposter Syndrome Gets Triggered

Oct 13, 2022

If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome often and it’s SABOTAGING how you show up, your confidence, the risks you take (or don't take),etc. then the question to ask isn't, "How do I overcome Imposter Syndrome?" Instead, what you should be asking yourself is, "WHY DOES THIS KEEP SHOWING UP?"

When we jump to the solution (overcoming it) which we all tend to want, we get a "band-aid" that may not stick. Instead, if we do the uncomfortable inner work of figuring out the root cause, we can experience real transformation.

Understanding why and how you get triggered is one part of the equation, the other is understanding YOUR ENVIRONMENT. What is it about this environment (company, team, group dynamic) that makes me feel like an imposter?

Both require a high degree of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE!

The next time you feel like an imposter, try these 4 simple steps:
Take 3 (discreet) deep breaths to slow down the ping-pong thoughts going through your mind. PAUSE.


SCAN your body. Where do you feel the discomfort most? Pangs in your belly? Rapid heart beat? Tight throat making it difficult for the words to come out? Hands or body shaking? Knowing how it shows up will help you find ways to work through your emotions. (Ex. when I'm triggered, my heart races; I take deep breaths to slow down my heart rate).


READ the room. What is it about this environment - the people, the communication, the dynamics - that is triggering you to feel like you don't belong there? Perhaps you're the only woman of color in the room? The youngest? The least experienced? The lowest ranking? Whether we want to admit it or not, power dynamics are always at play and when you don't understand how they impact your emotions, it can trip you up. (Ex. In a workplace were titles mattered a great deal, I was always triggered when I was around the table with higher ranking leaders, feeling completely out of place).


REMEMBER your PURPOSE & POWER. You're on that team, have a seat at that table, invited to speak on that panel, because you have VALUE - skills, experiences, expertise - to share. Shift your focus to the impact you're there to make.

IMHO, if we're continuously striving for that next level of greatness, we'll always feel like an imposter because we're doing something unfamiliar, out of our comfort zone, and that we might not be great at yet.  The the feeling like we don't belong or aren't skilled enough simply comes from that newness. 

So don't look to overcome Imposter Syndrome. EMBRACE IT. It means you're LEVELING UP.