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Conquer Your Inner Imposter: A Guide to Mastering Negotiations for the Self-Doubters (Part I)

Hi everyone,

Welcome to another edition of Negotiation Matters, the newsletter where I share some of the most effective negotiation strategies and tips I have learned over the years. Today, I want to talk to you about something that affects many of us: imposter syndrome. You know, that feeling that you don’t belong, that you are a fraud. I’ve been there too, and I know how hard it can be to overcome it.

Imposter syndrome is that nagging voice inside your head telling you that you are not good enough, competent enough, or qualified enough for the role or task that you are doing. It’s a psychological feeling of self-doubt and “not being enough.” Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, but it is prevalent among people in new or challenging situations, such as transitioning careers, starting a new job, taking on a leadership role, or negotiating for a higher salary or better benefits. Up to 70% of men and women will experience imposter syndrome at some point in their careers.

Imposter syndrome can have different roots, such as your personality type, work environment, childhood experiences, or even some trauma you went through. It can make you afraid to ask for what you deserve, to speak up for yourself, or to take risks. It can make you think you don’t deserve what you have and must work harder and be perfect to prove yourself. Imposter syndrome can prevent you from pursuing your dreams and growing your career.

But here’s the thing: imposter syndrome is not based on reality. It’s a distorted way of thinking that makes you doubt your value and abilities. And it’s also the biggest obstacle you will face in any negotiation - especially with yourself. That inner critic knows all your insecurities and what buttons to push, making it your toughest opponent. That’s right, defeating your inner critic is an internal negotiation that requires some strategies and techniques. And that’s what I will share with you in this two-part newsletter series on imposter syndrome and negotiation.

In the first part, I will give you some tips on recognizing and challenging your imposter thoughts. Next month, I will show you how to use negotiation skills to boost your confidence and assert yourself. So stay tuned, and let’s get started!

  • Start with your feelings: Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you don’t belong or you’re not good enough. And that’s okay. You don’t have to pretend everything is fine or that you’re always confident. The first thing you need to do is to acknowledge and name your feelings. For example, you can say to yourself, “I’m feeling nervous about this negotiation because I think I don’t deserve this raise.” This way, you can take away some of the power that these feelings have over you and see them more clearly.

  • Challenge those negative thoughts: Imposter syndrome can make you think things like: “I’m not qualified for this job” or “I got lucky this time.” But are these thoughts true? How do you know? What evidence do you have? Try to question and reframe these thoughts with more realistic and positive ones. For example, instead of thinking: “I’m not qualified for this job,” you can think: “I have the skills and experience that this job requires.” By doing this, you can change the way you think about yourself and your abilities.

  • Celebrate your achievements: Imposter syndrome can make you forget or downplay everything you have done and achieved. But you have worked hard and accomplished a lot and deserve to be proud of yourself. So, make a list of your achievements and the positive feedback that you have received from others. (I keep a “Win” journal of my accomplishments). And don’t forget to thank yourself and the people who have helped you along the way. Celebrating your achievements can help boost your confidence and self-esteem and remind you of your value and worth.

  • Don’t go it alone: The fourth step is to find your tribe of people who can help you beat imposter syndrome. You can connect with people who have been through imposter syndrome themselves or who can understand what you’re going through. You can also ask for feedback from people who can give you honest and helpful advice and praise. By finding your tribe, you can see your situation from different angles and realize you’re not the only one who feels like an imposter.

Remember, conquering your inner imposter is a journey, not a destination. Keep working on these strategies; over time, you will be better equipped to manage your imposter syndrome and achieve your goals. Stay tuned for the second part of this series, where we will dive deeper into the world of negotiation and explore more ways to overcome imposter syndrome.

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me.

Until next time, happy negotiating!


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