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You’ve heard of faking it until you make it. But what if it feels like you’ll never ‘make it?’

When we lack confidence in our abilities as professionals, a persistent shadow often lurks in the corners of our minds. And there’s a name for it.

Imposter syndrome.

It’s that nagging feeling that we don’t belong. That we’re not as competent as others perceive us to be, and that any moment, we’ll be exposed as frauds.

It’s a pervasive phenomenon, affecting more than 65 percent of the American workforce, according to recent research by the market research technology firm, InnovateMR.

The good news?

There are ways to overcome this self-doubt challenge and emerge on the other side with renewed confidence and a sense of belonging.

We’ve got three ideas below.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

One of the best things you can do when facing self-doubt is recognizing that you’re not alone in this struggle. Many successful individuals have faced similar challenges. But finding that common network isn’t always easy.

One of my corporate clients recently shared this with me: “I know a lot of women in technology struggle with imposter syndrome, or not feeling like they measure up. Networking with others helps you overcome some of this and even allows you to provide some support to others who may be feeling the same way.”

It’s important to network wisely. Positive influence is crucial, but seek out those who offer constructive positivity — they’ll actually challenge you to grow. Embrace individuals who push you out of your comfort zone and aren’t afraid to provide constructive criticism.

Building a supportive network may take time, but it’s worth it. Find mentors, colleagues, and friends who inspire you to be your best. With their support, you can conquer imposter syndrome and realize your full potential.

Challenge Your Inner Critic

Imposter syndrome often thrives on negative self-talk and distorted perceptions of our abilities. When you catch yourself entertaining thoughts of incompetence or unworthiness, take a moment to interrogate those beliefs.

Ask yourself for evidence to support these thoughts and whether they are based on objective reality or unfounded assumptions. More often than not, you’ll find that your achievements and qualifications speak louder than the doubts echoing in your mind.

One way to focus on the positives is to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Imposter syndrome often blinds us to our accomplishments, causing us to downplay our achievements or attribute them to luck rather than our own abilities.

Make a habit of acknowledging your victories, whether it’s completing a challenging project, receiving praise from a colleague, or mastering a new skill.

Keeping a record of your achievements can serve as a powerful reminder of your capabilities during moments of doubt.

Give Yourself a Break

A final way to break the chains of imposter syndrome is to practice self-care. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would extend to a friend facing similar struggles.

Remember that perfection is an unrealistic standard, and it’s okay to make mistakes or fall short of your own expectations from time to time. A CEO recently told me, “The idea of achieving perfection is really overrated. It’s just not possible.”

Be gentle with yourself. Especially in the face of doubts that may try to eat away at your confidence.

Remember, you are not an imposter. You are worthy, capable, and deserving of success.

Joe Szynkowski is the happy founder and owner of The UpWrite Group, a local firm that has offered corporate communications, personal branding, public relations, and ghostwriting services since 2008. He also hosts the monthly Work Happy Happy Hour in Marion focused on helping others find career fulfillment. Visit or email for more information.