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Overcoming Impostor Syndrome with Emotional Intelligence: 5 Easy Tips for Lawyers and Non-Lawyers

Impostor Syndrome
Blog / Personal Development

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome with Emotional Intelligence: 5 Easy Tips for Lawyers and Non-Lawyers

  1. Take a Pause and Rewire Your Brain
    When you feel insecure or inadequate, take a pause and assess the situation. You need to recognize that whatever you are feeling, or thinking is not necessarily the objective truth. It is just a version of how your brain is initially reacting to something.
    The truth is impostor syndrome will not go away on its own and you cannot wish away your self-doubt. But you can silence your inner critic by rewiring your brain with evidence-based thoughts that allow you to evaluate yourself realistically rather than emotionally. You can literally talk your way out of negative perspectives. Here are some examples:
  1. Temper your Expectations of Yourself
    People that struggle with impostor syndrome frequently hold themselves to a standard of perfection that is not sustainable or achievable. If you are like this, you may convince yourself you are failing. It is better for you to temper expectations by using scaling techniques to evaluate your performance. For example, if you have a list of 10 things to accomplish and you accomplish 9 out of 10, it is more effective to say you have accomplished 90 percent of your plans, as well as reminding yourself that 90 percent is still an “A”. People who are emotionally intelligent understand that feeling a bit behind everyone else is part of the human condition. Instead of giving in to the fear and inadequacies, they continue to show up instead. Most importantly, practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Build a Case
    Seek for information from the world around you to assess the facts that either support or disprove your emotional reactions when you feel inadequate. You can do this by keeping a file of compliments you receive from clients and people or a board of your accomplishments, training, and track record. Next time you feel those inadequacies cropping up, refer to your file of complements and accomplishments. Then you can evaluate your feelings and confirm if they are based on reality or not and adjust accordingly.
  3. Accept Good While Waiting for Perfect
    In a knowledge economy, people need to be continuous learners. As technology, trends, and workplace matters change on a dime, it is easy to feel left behind. It is also important to have a growth mindset and acknowledge that you will not be good at everything at the same time as everyone else. Whenever you feel inadequate or intimated, add the word “yet” at the end of your sentence, for example, “I don’t know how to draft XYZ agreement yet”. Doing this puts the emphasis back on your development and growth and allows you to focus on the future.
  4. Seek Perspective
    While in the grip of impostor syndrome, finding confidence can seem like a challenge—especially when you are the high-achieving person who everyone else goes to for advice and pep talks. It can be difficult to turn the tables and ask for help. You however need to be vulnerable to get the help you need. Find a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor who can help you process what you are feeling and address it. This is an important step in leaving these feelings behind.
    Feeling like an impostor hurts, so naturally, what you want is to feel differently. But the feelings may not change in a long while. This is why you cannot wait until you feel confident to take action. Keep taking on greater responsibility and stretching your goals. Do the things that scare you, while continuing to normalize and reframe. Over time, you will start to believe the new thoughts and your feelings will slowly catch up.

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