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How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Dear Harlan: Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? If so, how did you deal with it?

— Imposter

Dear Imposter:  Yes, I used to feel like an impostor all the time. It started when I found a girlfriend in high school. I couldn’t understand why she wanted me. I was afraid she would realize I wasn’t good enough. It continued when I wrote for the New York Daily News. I was in my early 20s sharing a page with Ann Landers (an advice legend). I was afraid people would realize I wasn’t good enough to be offering advice to millions of people. It happened again when I wrote a book and it hit The New York Times bestseller list. I was afraid people would think I wasn’t smart enough. When people asked me about the books I was reading, I always felt ashamed because I didn’t have a long list of classic books to share with them. It’s only been in the past few years that I realized I’m enough. Yes, I’m enough. And so are you. All the things that have happened in my life are because I was worthy and capable. They happened because I believed they could happen and I took a risk. When I was pushed outside my comfort zone, I stepped up to the challenge. I reached out for help. I found answers. Things don’t happen to you because you are unworthy or incapable. When you feel like an impostor, instead of shaming yourself, be kind to yourself. Learn from people you respect. Put yourself in places where you can safely ask questions. Life is about not knowing. But we can always continue learning, growing and becoming the things we never thought we could be. You are worthy. We are all worthy.

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