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A publication from Medium on personal development.

Imposter Syndrome

In Forge. More on Medium.

🐸 Tip: Give your inner critic its own wacky persona.

If your inner critic is preventing you from being your best self, here’s a piece of advice from Yi Shun Lai: Give it its own weird persona. As she writes on Forge, her inner critic is “Clarence,” a bumbling, warty toad that likes to hang out on her shoulder. The trick is empowering because the moment you anthropomorphize your imposter syndrome/writer’s block/whatever-it-is-keeping-you-from-your-full-potential, it’s no longer a part of you or something you have to take responsibility for. It’s just an annoying little critter who sometimes overstays his welcome. …

Curiosity can help you bridge the gap between intellectual understanding and emotional reality

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

I know better than this. Why am I still so stuck in my feelings? We’ve all been there — in that uncomfortable space between knowing something to be true, but the intellectual knowledge not being enough to fix or change the emotional experience.

Maybe you last encountered this discrepancy after angrily critiquing your body for its pandemic changes even after your deep dive into the history of fatphobia.

Or you noticed it creep up after weeks of crying over a layoff despite knowing that your workplace severely mistreated and undervalued you. Regardless, you’ve likely judged yourself and your feelings due…

🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “How would I define what good work looks like today?”

One reason impostor syndrome can be so hard to shake is that we tend to rely on the wrong tools to beat it. As the therapist Kathleen Smith notes in Forge, confidence is only a Band-Aid. The real cure is objectivity. “The people who tend to be the least anxious about a big meeting or a new promotion are those who can evaluate themselves realistically, without relying too much on praise or criticism from others,” she writes.

Getting that clarity for yourself starts with asking…

A therapist explains why it’s not just about finding confidence

Photo: chee gin tan/Getty Images

One thing I can say with confidence about remote work: It does absolutely nothing to ease impostor syndrome. Over the past year, even as the world turned upside down, many of my therapy clients have continued to battle work-related worries: They don’t deserve a recent promotion; they aren’t qualified to give that upcoming Zoom presentation; they find it hard to feel professional and accomplished when the sink is full of dishes and they haven’t worn real pants in weeks.

People who struggle with imposter syndrome often think the solution is to build up more confidence — psyching themselves up in…

Imposter syndrome is heightened by the stress of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it

Photo: Kelvin Murray/Getty Images

Curled up on the bed at a hotel in Las Vegas, I texted a colleague to cancel the meeting we’d scheduled for later that day. I just couldn’t bring myself to show up. I was at the Consumer Electronics Show, an annual trade show where I was supposed to be working on business development, something I felt completely unqualified to do. …

Think about your ‘slope’

A South Asian female executive explaining strategy to her white male colleagues in a meeting.
Photo: Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Throughout my career as an investor, I’ve met plenty of people (usually women) who, regardless of their levels of professional success, feel like interlopers in a play written for someone else. I include myself in that, too. I’ve battled my own insecurities, at times convincing myself that I only achieved what I have because of an error, or pity.

I’m a South Asian woman, an immigrant with an accent to my speech. I’m the proverbial sore thumb: In a 2018 survey of 1,500 venture capitalists 80% of respondents were male, 70% were white, and — no exaggeration — 40% of…

You need to think of your work differently

Westend61/Getty Images

When I decided to start my website in 2015, I dragged my feet for a while between having the idea and acting on it. I couldn’t shake the worry that I was being somehow silly, or self-absorbed. “There are a million blogs out there,” I thought. “Why should I start another one?”

Eventually, I recognized that worry for what it was: impostor syndrome.

There are lots of ways our feelings of inadequacy can surface. We might say to ourselves, “I’m not the right person for this” or “I just know I’m going to get called out.” …


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