Cognitive behavioral therapy is common in dealing with impostor feelings, said Dr. David Plude licensed psychologist at Arrowhead Psychological Clinic in Duluth. That includes self-esteem building exercises, treatments for anxiety and depression. It's also helpful to build an understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
Plude also suggested setting limits. If a project is typically 10 pages, set a limit to not exceed 15. Exercise is helpful in reducing stress, as well as mindfulness, he said.
Pause to let an award or accomplishment sink in, suggested Pam Solberg-Tapper of Coach for Success in Duluth. Taking time with a success rather than quickly moving onto the next challenge is important. "That can help ward off that impostor experience," she said because it helps build on personal strengths that can then be incorporated into a person's identity.
Do a reality check. Ask yourself: What evidence and what feedback has told you that you're not good enough or that someone else is better? There's always going to be someone better in certain areas, but we have to look at ourselves as a whole person vs. one skill, Solberg-Tapper said.
In a work situation, if you're unsure of what your boss thinks about your performance, be proactive and ask specific questions, she said, such as, what am I doing well, where can I improve, where do you want me to focus my efforts?
"The more tools we have in our toolbox, the more equipped we are to handle situations that are new," she said.
Here are tips for facing impostor feelings from the American Psychological Association.
Working with others less experienced in a certain area reinforces your skillset. It can also highlight how far you've come and help extinguish impostor feelings. Also, take ownership of your successes, you're worth it.
Let go of perfection
Switch your focus from perfection to progress and the value you bring to an organization, relationship, etc. Don't dwell on mistakes, see what you could do differently and move forward. No one is perfect.
Train your brain
Practice reframing difficulties with someone you trust. Limit yourself on projects, and reduce gradually if need be. For instance, take four hours on something instead of six. Cut out more time, if it is problematic. Cut back on comparing.
Talk about it
Those experiencing impostor phenomenon often suffer in silence because of the fear of being exposed. Because of that, it can fly under the radar. Sharing with others or individual therapy can be very helpful in mining tools to help break the cycle of impostor feelings.