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15 Best Resources to Help Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Raise your hand if you have ever experienced that cringy feeling of believing you are unqualified, incompetent or have achieved success simply because you got lucky. The truth is most people have felt this way at some point.

These ultra common beliefs leading you to uncomfortable thoughts and insecurities are known as imposter syndrome. And while most have experienced these universal feelings, many struggle to overcome them.

The good news is there are great resources available to help push through those times of self-doubt and recognize that imposter syndrome, while natural, can be successfully managed!

What is Imposter Syndrome?

In 1978, clinical psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes were the first to identify the phenomenon known as imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of success and competence. People experiencing imposter syndrome often believe that they do not deserve their accomplishments and attribute their achievements to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities. They may constantly fear being “found out” or exposed as incompetent, even when objectively they are skilled and accomplished in their field.

Characteristics of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can express itself in numerous ways. And although it may feel different from person to person, a few of the more common characteristics of imposter syndrome are:

  1. Undervaluing contributions: Minimizing or belittling your involvement, participation, and input. There is a lack of self-worth expressed by devaluing your contributions as well as self-doubt of intellect.
  2. Self-sabotage: Believing that you are not deserving of success leads to actions that support unsuccessful outcomes. Such feelings of self-doubt can lead to sloppy work, less effort, and an overall lack of motivation until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  3. Self-doubt: A lack of self-efficacy has you constantly questioning your abilities and feeling like a fraud, even in the face of evidence of competence. Success feels unattainable or unrealistic despite your proven capabilities.
  4. Attributing Success to Luck: Believing and crediting your success to factors such as coincidence, luck or even chance rather than your own skillset and efforts. Any brief sense of success you experience is quickly attributed to external factors.

Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome, and the accompanying fear of failure, can impact various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and overall well-being. These feelings are often experienced by high-achieving individuals, including professionals, academics, and creatives, but can affect anyone regardless of their level of success.

Recognizing and addressing imposter syndrome is important for building self-confidence, overcoming self-doubt, and achieving one’s full potential. More importantly, learning how to manage your limiting beliefs allows your authentic self to shine!

Creating awareness of feelings of imposter syndrome will help you begin to address them. And once you tackle those uncomfortable notions, you will open yourself up to more opportunities and participating in achievement-related tasks!

Best Books to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can be a challenging issue to overcome, but there are several books that offer insights, strategies, and support to help individuals manage and conquer it. Here are eight highly recommended, and relatable, imposter syndrome books:

1. “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It,” by Valerie Young.

Dr. Valerie Young delves into the experiences of successful women who suffer from imposter syndrome and offers practical advice on how to overcome it. This book provides strategies to recognize and combat feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

2. “The Imposter Cure: How to Stop Feeling Like a Fraud and Escape the Mind-trap of Imposter Syndrome,” by Dr. Jessamy Hibberd.

Hibberd explores the roots of imposter syndrome and offers actionable steps to overcome it. Through exercises and insights, readers can learn to change their thought patterns and develop self-confidence.

3. “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges,” by Amy Cuddy.

While not exclusively about imposter syndrome, Amy Cuddy’s book delves into the concept of presence and how individuals can harness it to overcome self-doubt and project confidence. It offers valuable insights and practical tips for managing imposter type feelings.

4. “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” by Brené Brown.

Best-selling author, Brown, explores the connection between vulnerability and courage, emphasizing the importance of embracing imperfection and authenticity. This book can help individuals struggling with imposter syndrome develop resilience and self-acceptance.

5. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” by Carol S. Dweck.

Dweck’s groundbreaking research on mindset explores the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. By adopting a growth mindset, individuals can overcome imposter feelings and cultivate a belief in their ability to learn and grow.

6. “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” by Jen Sincero.

Sincero’s upbeat and humorous approach to personal development can be empowering for those struggling with imposter syndrome. This book offers practical advice, motivational stories, and exercises to help readers build confidence and pursue their goals.

7. “The Middle Finger Project: Trash Your Imposter Syndrome and Live the Unf*ckwithable Life You Deserve,” by Ash Ambirge.

Ambirge’s signature wit and humor shining through as she challenges readers to break free from limiting beliefs and societal norms. It is a refreshing and empowering read for anyone looking to redefine success on their own terms and embrace their inner rebel.

8. “Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim,” by Patricia Park

Park takes you on the journey of a multicultural teen struggling to fit in at her Manhattan prep school, a diverse New York City neighborhood, and even her own home. Follow Ale during the difficulties of her senior year as she finds her place in the world during this powerful, humorous, and provocative read.

More resources to help manage imposter syndrome

In addition to the impressive list of books above, there are tons of other helpful resources available to help combat feelings of self-doubt and build greater levels of confidence. Figuring out which resources work best for you is key to your ability to beat the imposter cycle and move forward.

Here are some tools to consider trying:

9. Online Courses and Workshops

  • Udemy and Coursera offer various courses on confidence-building, self-esteem, and overcoming imposter syndrome.
  • Look for workshops or webinars offered by organizations or professionals specializing in personal development and mental health.

10. Podcasts

  • “The Imposter Syndrome Podcast” hosted by Lisa Carmen Wang.
  • “The Femails Podcast” often features episodes on imposter syndrome and how to combat it.

11. Therapy and Counseling

  • Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who specializes in imposter syndrome or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). They can provide personalized strategies and support to help you overcome these feelings.

12. Online Communities and Support Groups

  • Join online communities or support groups where individuals share their experiences with imposter syndrome and offer support and encouragement.
  • Websites like Reddit or Facebook groups often have communities dedicated to imposter syndrome.

13. Self-Help Guides and Tools

  • Keep a journal to track your achievements, skills, and positive feedback you receive.
  • Practice self-compassion and embrace your gifts of imperfection! Challenge negative self-talk by replacing it with positive affirmations.
  • Set realistic goals and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.

14. Professional Development Programs

  • Look for mentorship programs or professional development opportunities within your workplace or industry. Having a mentor can provide guidance and support as you navigate feelings of inadequacy.

15. Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Practices such as mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to challenge negative beliefs and cultivate self-compassion.

Keys to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

It is so important to remember that overcoming imposter syndrome is a journey, and it may require a combination of strategies and support systems. Give yourself grace and practice different techniques!

The listing of books and tools above can serve as a valuable resource along the way, but it is essential to find what works best for you and to seek additional help if needed, such as coaching or even therapy.