Book Review: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. ~Nathaniel Branden

Without Judge
Without Jury
We hand down judgments on ourselves that limit our ability to succeed.
How to beat those judgments and achieve in spite of them is the subject of Elizabeth Harrin’s book, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

What the Heck Is It?

Imposter Syndrome is defined by Wikipedia as a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. When you compliment them, ‘oh no,’ they say, ‘it was…

  • Luck
  • Timing or
  • They were able to fool a bunch of other people into handing them their success.

Whether folks were fooled or not, Elizabeth is saying that it’s time to get over it. And she gives the reader tips and practical actions to move beyond the limited views they have of themselves.

From Strategy 1 – Read Widely through Strategy 5 – Challenge Yourself and ending with Strategy 10 – Recognize When You Should Feel Like a Fraud, she challenges the reader to take small distinct steps to overcome their feelings of being an Imposter.

You Are Not Prepared

Her final chapter: Strategy 10: Recognize When You Should Feel Like a Fraud was refreshing. She shares with her readers three distinct situations when they should feel unprepared:

  • When you’re doing something you’ve never done before,
  • If you are a minority in a company culture that might not the right fit for you or
  • It’s your first few weeks in a new job

The three examples help define when it is reasonable to feel like an imposter, rather than taking every setback as an example of why you “shouldn’t be where you are.” After having identified these examples, she suggests ways to close the gap between the role and your perceived “fit” or remove yourself from a bad culture match.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome doesn’t beat the reader up for feeling like the odd one out, but gives them strategies to  overcome the self-judgments that limit their success.  This is a book I recommend.

Have you read this book or another about Imposter Syndrome? Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.


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