1 Bold Tip to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Secret to Self-Coaching

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

The biggest challenge women leaders face, according to research we conducted from women leaders, male leaders and HR professionals, is Taming the Impostor

Impostor syndrome is when people – often successful high achievers – feel like frauds or doubt their abilities in spite of evidence that is obvious to everyone else except them. Sadly, knowing what impostor syndrome is doesn’t lessen its negative impact.

What does reduce the impact are practices that disrupt and ultimately quiet the negative self-talk. The first thing to realize is there is a committee of Vicious Voices in your head, talking 24/7, representing your worst fears, and never the truth. Once you realize you have a choice in how you listen to them, you can engage differently. 

A key question to interrupt the committee chatter is “What is the evidence?When you answer, be objective or better yet, answer like you’re your best friend. 

A client recently was worried about a contract negotiation and felt that asking for more would have the Board Chair think poorly of her. When asked for the evidence, her response was she had just received a glowing performance review and a two-year contract extension request. As she was speaking, she could hear the evidence, and a smile spread to her face as she realized what the evidence actually showed. She quieted the voices and requested what she wanted with clarity and confidence. 

This, by the way, is a great example of self-coaching. It requires pausing, acknowledging the voices, interrupting the cycle by asking “What IS the evidence?” and answering objectively. Self-coaching is a great tool, and sometimes it’s still difficult to break the cycle. In that case, reach out to someone you trust, ask them to be your bigger brain and help you identify the actual evidence. Chances are, they will share a long list of supporting examples and facts, and you will realize how unfounded and untrue the ranting of the vicious voices in the first place.

Gisele Garcia Shelley, Executive Coach, PCC, Nyack, New York

#boldleadership #tametheimpostor

Tags: bold, leadership, womensleadership

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    Maureen Borzacchiello: “Make a list of what you are good at, what you are GREAT at”

    by Candice Georgiadis
    By fizkes/Shutterstock
    Work Smarter//

    This Is How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome: 4 Secrets From Research

    by Eric Barker
    Work Smarter//

    Impostor Syndrome: How Self-Doubt Can Be Undervalued and Reframed to Our Advantage

    by Thrive Global

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.