A blog about leadership and confidence.

by Lisa Hinz     •      Leadership Development

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Identifying Your Triggers Can Help Manage Imposter Syndrome

imposter syndrome

I struggled greatly with imposter syndrome...

I struggled to the point that it affected me mentally, emotionally, and physically. And I didn't talk about it with anyone.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is characterized by a persistent feeling of not being good enough despite evidence of accomplishments and competence.

Identifying triggers of imposter syndrome

A big step in helping to manage it is to identify what triggers these imposter-like thoughts within you.


Log them - write them down or type them into your phone. You may start to see that there are patterns.


When we don't understand the triggers, they catch us off guard every time. We feel like the "deer in the headlights" which can cause a feeling of panic and having no control.


When you understand what triggers you, you can mentally prepare yourself to face them. Part of that mental preparation might be coming up with an action you can take to help minimize the impact.


My own personal example of how I learned to manage my big trigger of taking on something I had never done before - instead of letting myself feel overwhelmed and needing to do it perfectly with no mistakes, I started telling myself, "I'll figure it out."


That simple saying has become my default reaction and it cuts me a little slack. It instantly eases the anxiety, fear of failure and imposter-like thoughts that used to consume me because it tells my brain it doesn't have to be overwhelmed with thinking it has to have all of the answers RIGHT NOW.


If you struggle with imposter syndrome, try tracking your triggers. Here is how identifying triggers can help you manage imposter syndrome...


Identifying your triggers helps you become more aware of the situations or contexts that tend to evoke imposter feelings. This awareness is the first step in addressing these feelings.


Once you know your triggers, you can mentally prepare yourself to face them.


This might involve reminding yourself of your accomplishments, strengths, and abilities before entering triggering situations. Or it may help you to develop an action you can take to help minimize your trigger’s impact.


Knowing your triggers allows you to challenge negative thought patterns that arise.


When imposter feelings are triggered, you can consciously reframe your thoughts to remind yourself of your competence and achievements.


You can also remind yourself that no one knows everything and that everyone starts somewhere.


Identifying triggers enables you to develop tailored coping strategies.


For example, if giving presentations triggers imposter feelings, you can work on public speaking skills, practice mindfulness techniques, or use positive affirmations to manage anxiety.


Recognizing triggers can encourage you to seek support from mentors, friends, or coaches.


They can provide encouragement, validation, and alternative perspectives to counteract imposter feelings. Talking about it can help.


Understanding your triggers helps you set realistic goals that challenge you without overwhelming you.


Gradually achieving these goals can boost your confidence and counteract feelings of being an imposter


By tracking your responses and emotions when facing triggers, you can assess your progress over time.

This self-reflection can reveal patterns of improvement and areas that still need attention.


Dealing with triggers can be uncomfortable, but over time, it can build resilience and strengthen your ability to handle imposter syndrome. Each successful encounter with a trigger is a step toward managing imposter feelings.


People with imposter syndrome often avoid situations that trigger their feelings.


Identifying triggers allows you to work on facing these situations, gradually reducing avoidance behavior and gaining a sense of control.


Managing imposter syndrome is an ongoing process. While identifying triggers is a crucial step, it’s also important to combine this with other strategies like positive self-talk, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, and focusing on your growth journey.


If imposter feelings are significantly affecting your well-being, consider seeking professional help from a coach or therapist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral techniques or imposter syndrome.

Lisa Hinz Writing

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