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3 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

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As a leader, have you ever felt like there must have been some sort of mistake in the selection process that led to you being in the role you’re in? If so, you’re not the only one. Most leaders do at some or more than one point.

The phenomenon is known as impostor syndrome and it’s the subject of a new book by Joyce Roche called The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace SuccessWhen you read Joyce’s bio, you’d think that if anyone could skirt impostor syndrome it would be her. She has served as the COO and president of a major corporation, was the first African American VP at Avon Corporation, has an MBA from Columbia and sits on the boards of directors for AT&T, Macy’s, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and other organizations.  She chairs the board of trustees of her college alma mater.

And yet, feeling like an impostor was something that stayed with Joyce for much of her career and in the careers of the dozens of successful leaders who share their stories in her book.

In a recent conversation, I asked her for three of her best ideas for overcoming impostor syndrome. They include:

1. Get some rational, objective input into why you’re feeling the way you do.
2. Do an honest self assessment, not just of your deficiencies but also the strengths that others see you in.
3. Understand what your “imposter” triggers are.

Joyce shares more in the accompanying brief conversation on how impostor syndrome plays out and how leaders can overcome it.

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What’s your experience with impostor syndrome? Is it something you’ve struggled with? How do you beat it?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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