Are you experiencing feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, even though you have a successful career? Perhaps you feel a sense of fraud, like you don’t belong. Chances are, these negative feelings are manifested by Imposter Syndrome.
Veronica V. Sopher is a dynamic school communications leader with over 20 years of experience in K-12 leadership. She has served as the chief communications officer for several large and mid-sized school districts. Sopher provides leadership, vision, direction, and execution of major district communication programs, strategies, events, and activities.
She believes in the power of self-care and its dynamic impact on customer service, leadership development, and team-building, especially in grades K-12. Sopher examines how Imposter Syndrome can manifest itself and how to overcome it in her course, Imposter Syndrome – Every Leader Can Overcome It.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Veronica describes Imposter Syndrome as “a pattern of doubting your abilities. It’s you not sure that you belong. It’s you overestimating what you think other people think about you.” These feelings can vary depending on the individual, but in general, the emotional anxiety that arises is the same.
When Imposter Syndrome appears, it’s usually triggered by feelings you already have in your subconscious. It could be based on a trauma you have experienced in the past. Sopher explains how identifying the cause can be helpful in overcoming Imposter Syndrome because “it will allow you to give it a name and have you move on that much quicker.”
Having an internal dialogue with yourself can help you to pinpoint exactly why these negative feelings are manifesting. Veronica assures that this is completely normal, especially for individuals in leadership roles and those who typically take more risks. If you are experiencing feelings of Imposter Syndrome, know that you certainly aren’t alone.
Identifying the Signs
Some common factors that lead to developing Imposter Syndrome can be derived from perfectionism. “You want to be able to prove that you are dedicated, you are strong, you are the best, you are prepared.” As Veronica explains, this often leads to a cycle of self-sabotage.
Be mindful of your daily habits and take care of yourself. Set healthy boundaries, and learn how to say no. Just because you strive for success doesn’t mean you have to be a workaholic. Your good intentions may inadvertently be hurting more than helping.
For instance, Veronica describes this happening in a group setting with leaders and administrators. “When they really start to dive into a conversation and they’re not allowing feedback or they’re not allowing collaboration, that’s when you know Imposter Syndrome has really crept into the conversation, and it’s blocking creativity.” Identifying how it manifests for you is a vital step in understanding how to overcome Imposter Syndrome.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Look on the bright side, you’re leveling up! If you are grappling with Imposter Syndrome, it likely means that you’re taking necessary risks and growing in your leadership abilities. After all, you can’t doubt yourself if you don’t try something new. Be proud that you are making an effort and taking initiative.
Veronica explains, “Every time you start to have doubts, it means that you as a leader are taking more chances and you are showing up big.” She emphasizes how “that’s exactly what your team and your district and your campus needs you to be doing.”
Finally, Veronica encourages you to express gratitude when you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome. This can easily be done by sending a thank-you note or journaling. Writing positive affirmations and showing gratitude are some of the best ways to change your neural pathways and help you overcome Imposter Syndrome.
Interested in learning more about how to overcome Imposter Syndrome? Explore the course demo on Imposter Syndrome – Every Leader Can Overcome It today!