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Own Your Awesome: Conquering Imposter Syndrome

By Beth McPartlin, Harper Wellness Manager

What is imposter syndrome? According to Oxford Languages, imposter syndrome is defined as, “The persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills.”

In other words, imposter syndrome is the internal belief of not feeling as competent, intelligent or skilled in the way that others perceive you to be. Right now, you might be feeling unsure of yourself and your abilities, especially if you're starting a new chapter in life such as attending college. You might be feeling like you don’t belong or your mind might be trying to tell you that you’re not good enough.

While these thoughts and imposter feelings can be common, it’s important to focus on your strengths and what you've accomplished thus far. Own your awesome! You belong here. If you find yourself having these feelings, you are not alone. Many people feel the same way, and it is okay.

However, here are some things you can do to start combating feelings of imposter syndrome:

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s important to identify how you’re feeling when those feelings of imposter syndrome arise. Acknowledging your feelings can often help you work towards creating a healthier mindset. Here are some things to ask yourself: What information do I have to support or deny these thoughts? What are my strengths? Am I striving for better or unrealistic perfection?

2. Build Connections

Friends and loved ones can often help you get out of your own head and help you recognize the many strengths you possess, which can often be difficult to personally recognize at times. Take a moment to connect with those that you love and trust to talk through some of these imposter syndrome feelings. Loved ones or even colleagues or acquaintances can often help you push back on some of the stories you might be making up in your head.

3. Challenge Your Doubts

As a human, you are bound to make mistakes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even though you make a mistake or fail at something doesn’t mean you should define yourself as a failure. Moreover, failure can often be the impetus for something even better. In order to refine and make things better you have to be willing to take

risks, which often means failing and making mistakes along the road. It’s important to challenge your doubts and the stories you make up in our own head so that you can begin to create and build a healthier relationship with your brain and body, which often means challenging your own doubts.

4. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to others is often the thief of joy. Humans are different in so many ways, which is what makes the world so amazing and cool. There is no perfect formula to life, and everyone is chartering their own path with different timelines. Instead, try focusing on the goals you want to accomplish as well as reflect on everything you have accomplished thus far in life. By centering your focus on your own progress, you can keep you moving forward and stay on track with your goals.

Beth McPartlin is the Wellness Manager at Harper College. Harper Wellness is committed to providing a campus culture and environment that strives to promote and enhance the overall wellness of its students, staff, faculty and surrounding community.

Last Updated: 4/18/24