Our Blog

Explore our insights on developing talent within the health ecosystem and empowering leaders and teams to execute strategic goals.

4 Steps to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

by The Leadership Development Group

Imposter syndrome, defined by the Harvard Business Review as “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud,” impacts high-achieving people as they often find difficulty in accepting their own accomplishments. Essentially, people with imposter syndrome feel as though they’re not qualified enough, not talented enough, or simply not good enough to perform their job well.

But, could this be a case of mind over matter? Or is there more to overcoming imposter syndrome? 

What’s alarming is that up to 60% of physicians and other professionals in the health ecosystem experience imposter syndrome at some point in their careers. In this article, we’re diving into the reasons imposter syndrome is so common in the healthcare industry and the top 4 steps to overcoming it. Let’s begin!

Why is Imposter Syndrome Common in the Health Ecosystem?

Let’s be clear and acknowledge that imposter syndrome spans all levels of business at all organizations and throughout every industry. However, when it comes to the health ecosystem, physicians often start developing feelings of imposter syndrome in medical school which often grow over time. Working in healthcare is stressful, after all. From patient advocacy to working in health insurance to saving lives, there’s a lot on the line when it comes to taking care of people. 

Imposter syndrome can look different for everyone and the signs can vary from individual to individual. Here are a few of the telltale signs you may be experiencing imposter syndrome:

  • Turning down opportunities because you don’t believe you’re qualified
  • Downplaying and/or not acknowledging your achievements
  • Over-preparing and overachieving to the point of burnout and overwhelm
  • Self-sabotaging and preventing yourself from success

Through our years of expert leadership development coaching and consulting, we share a few steps to overcoming imposter syndrome.

1. Be Proactive and Seek Out Constructive Criticism & Help

First and foremost, know that it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, we encourage you to seek feedback from management, your peers, and employees. There is no stigma to seeking help. 

Think about it like this. When you consider criticism to be a sign of failure, you miss out on opportunities for growth. Instead, by looking to leaders or outside sources for guidance, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to learn and improve upon your current skill set.

2. Celebrate Your Accomplishments & Praise

Work on celebrating your achievements no matter if they are big or small. One easy practice is to embrace praise, and just say thank you. Take the following examples into consideration.

Don’t do this:

Care Team: “Great job today!”

You: “Oh, it was nothing.”

Instead, do this:

Care Team: “Great job today!”

You: “Thank you, I appreciate it.”

Even these little positive interactions will boost your confidence and morale, shifting your mindset to one of appreciation and optimism.

3. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Your mind is the most powerful tool you can use to change the way you perceive yourself and your abilities. Just like mind over matter, it’s important to practice positive self-talk — whether in your head, in a journal, or out loud. Ultimately, positive self-talk encourages you to look on the bright side, recognize your strengths, and boost your confidence when you feel as though you failed.

Here’s an activity for you. Try writing down all your short-term and long-term goals. And then check them off once you’ve accomplished them. This will help you start to internalize your achievements and discover your strengths. And don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re proud of all you’ve accomplished so far!

4. Understand That Making Mistakes Does Not Mean You Failed

Recognize that when you make a mistake, it does not necessarily mean that you failed. Instead, try to “fail forward’ by purposefully and deliberately using failure to find success. Uncover the key takeaways from the mistake you made and consider them lessons learned. With these takeaways, you can better yourself, your skill set, and behavior for the future. 

Final Thoughts

If you, a member of your team, or a colleague is experiencing imposter syndrome, TLD Group’s cadre of leadership development experts can help. Get in touch with us to learn more about how our customized leadership development solutions can help you overcome imposter syndrome.

Topics: Leadership Development, Healthcare Ecosystem, Leadership, Leadership Resources, Physician Leadership