Imposter Syndrome ... And How To Deal With It?

Imposter Syndrome ... And How To Deal With It?

Do you suffer from believing you are not good enough?

Studies have shown that 70% of ALL people feel like imposters at one time or another. In fact, it is a very real part of our human condition, no matter how accomplished people become and how confident and self-assured they are. Or you are not really as good as you have led others to believe you are? This is a common feeling we all have - that somehow you are going to be found out.

Imposter Syndrome is a name psychologists have given to that nagging, persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. Apparently, it is very common in high achieving individuals who find it difficult to internalise their accomplishments with their feelings of unworthiness or not being “good enough”.

Research has shown that there is a relationship between the imposter phenomenon and the following influences:

  • High family expectations
  • Over protective parents or legal guardians
  • Being referred to as “the smart one”
  • Being referred to as the talented one, or the favourite or the good one.
  • For those who have reached a level of success and accomplishment and for which they have received accolades.


These feelings are completely normal.

Maya Angelou who was a confident, self-assured and a person comfortable in her own skin said, “I have written eleven successful books, but each time I think, ‘uh, oh, they’re going to find out now.’ I’ve run a game on everybody and now they’re going to find me out.”

Even one of the greatest actresses, Meryl Streep, has openly said, “I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing. I often doubt my talent and fear they’re going to find out that I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Mark Sparks is an amazingly successful entrepreneur who has repeated his success over and over again having built many enterprises that have made him wealthy. When asked why he keeps going and why he keeps striving even though he could easily retire. He says “If I didn’t feel broke every morning that I got out of bed, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. I wonder everyday if I am worthy of all of this, and so I go after it again and again each day.”

Actress Tina Fey described her encounter with this syndrome in these words: “The beauty of the imposter syndrome is that you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of I’m a fraud. Oh God, they are on to me, so that you try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and slide through the idea of being a fraud.”

How Do You Deal With This Syndrome?

What does this mean to you if you have ever had any of these feelings? Perhaps you haven’t had the courage to admit this out loud.

You embrace it. You do not let those feelings debilitate you. Instead, you let these feelings push you. These feelings are programmed into our system to keep us on our toes and to keep challenging us, to stop us from wallowing in boredom, comfort and the status quo.

The human body functions at a higher level when stimulated by pressure. Humans are designed not to cope with pressure but to actually thrive on it. It is the psychological energy that fuels our daily performance to great heights. The imposter syndrome keeps the pressure on and keeps us pushing forward to be better every day no matter how far we have already come.

When you next have that Imposter feeling, simply do as Tine Fey described. Ride the highs when you are feeling extremely confident and enjoy it, and then slide down the lows. Have them continue to drive you as Mark said, “go after them again each day.”

Would you like to explore how you can deal with Imposter Syndrome?  Click HERE to transform your Presentation Skills into a Powerful Business Tool today.

Lis Manson | Winning With Words