Clinical psychologist Jill Stoddard presents insights on how to cope with imposter syndrome, a phenomenon where individuals doubt their achievements and fear being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of their competence. Stoddard advises against attempting to control or change negative thoughts into positive ones, advocating instead for psychological flexibility and the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approach to embrace one’s feelings of self-doubt and move towards personal values and goals.
- Imposter syndrome involves persistent feelings of inadequacy despite external evidence of success and often leads to either overworking to prove oneself (risking burnout) or avoiding new opportunities (risking stagnation).
- The phenomenon, while initially identified in high-achieving women, can affect anyone and may be intensified by systemic biases or backgrounds involving marginalization.
- Instead of striving to control uncomfortable imposter feelings, Stoddard suggests practicing willingness and acceptance as a means to cope with and navigate through these emotions.
- Psychological flexibility, a concept central to acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), is presented as a more effective approach than trying to force confidence or self-esteem.
- Stoddard provides practical strategies, such as re-framing thoughts and practicing acceptance, to build resilience against the imposter syndrome and to make choices aligned with personal values.