Managing the Imposter

August marks the start of a new academic year for many, as well as mixed emotions as many people are transitioning into new roles or new responsibilities. It should come as no surprise that these transitions, combined with a personal desire to do something greater than the prior year, can lead to intense imposter feelings.

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Imposter syndrome is a feeling, an experience, or a belief that can be hard to shake, but it is not a disease or abnormality. In fact, more than 70% of people experience imposter feelings.

Through continuous self-reflection and insightful conversations with colleagues and friends I’ve realized that a possible solution to imposter feelings is not elimination, but management. Although imposter feelings can present barriers, I believe that with appropriate management they can strengthen humility and help calibrate intuition. Similar to applying your greatest talents and strengths, the key is figuring out how to apply the right strategy with the right emphasis at the right moment.

The result of this recent reflection led to the birth of the ASR’s Imposter Syndrome Revision Model. The thought process is rather simple:ASRs Imposter Syndrome Revision Model

  • Identify the action.
    • What specific action represented imposter feelings?
  • Reduce the action to identify to cause. 
    • What was the cause of the imposter feeling? Environment, experience, etc.
  • Resolve the cause to identify a solution. 
    • What can you do to correct the cause and resolve the imposter feelings?
  • Reapply the correction to the action. 
    • Reflect on how you action might be different if your action anticipated the imposter feelings and responded with the correction.

I believe that this reflective approach will strengthen your ability to not only identify, but manage imposter feelings. Imposter feelings often hide in plain sight or are masked as familiar behavior, but every time you take the opportunity to reduce the feelings to identify the cause, resolve the cause of the imposter feelings, and the correct them you are more prepared to manage and minimize their impact the next time they arise.

19To get you started on identifying ways to correct your imposter feeling, I’ve included my top 10 list of ways to manage your imposter. I haven’t mastered them all, but I find that each of these items helps me remain focused on becoming my best self. Although your strategies may be different, the ultimate goal is to figure out how to know when you are not only being the best version of yourself, but also the most authentic version of yourself because collectively they are the best source of personal synergy.

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