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May 7, 2018

Have you ever had that feeling of being ‘found out’?

Like despite your accomplishments at any point someone’s going to call you out and reveal you as a big old fake who has no idea what they’re doing!

The ‘who am I do to this?!’gremlin niggling away so that feeling of not being good enough gets louder and louder…so, why even bother trying to show up?

Ever felt like that?

Yeah, me too….along with most of the population!

That’s the joy of Imposter Syndrome.

So…What Is Imposter Syndrome?

The term ‘Imposter syndrome’ came from research by two clinical psychologists (Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes) back in the 70s.  It was a study primarily of high achieving women as they thought they were the only sufferers, but more recently studies have shown that it affects men and women pretty equally, women were just better at talking about it back then.  

Harvard Business Review states “Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”

So what’s actually going on? The bottom line is this fear is activating the fear centre in your brain which causes the fight or flight mode to kick in.  You’re pumping the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline all over your body so it doesn’t feel good at all and is bad for your health in the long run.

What Does Imposter Syndrome Cause?

Fear.  Fear of being caught out, fear of failure, low self-worth.  

This can lead to perfectionism, overworking to make sure you don’t get ‘found out’…which of course can lead to burnout, a perpetual state of anxiety, stress, feelings of shame and even depression.

In short it WILL hold you back if you don’t work through it.  

Think about it, if you feel like a fraud you’re not going to put yourself out there, you’re not going to put yourself forward for that speaking gig, that article, that huge opportunity that could propel your business forward.  

It’s going to keep you stuck and make everything you do feel that much harder!

…so it’s pretty important we nip it in the bud right?!

What Can You Do To Combat Imposter Syndrome?


The main reason it often goes unnoticed is that people struggling with Imposter syndrome feel like they’re keeping a dirty little secret.  When you realise everyone has these thoughts at some point you can feel a weight lift from your shoulders, you’re not alone anymore AND you can also help other people breathe that same sign of relief in the process too when they realise THEY aren’t alone.

A couple of great ways to make sure you’re talking to someone who will really ‘get it’,and have the tools to get through it, is to get a coach or mentor who will provide a completely non-judgemental space for you to share, will understand what’s going on and will be able to help you through it so much more quickly.  

You can also consider group coaching programmes where you will also build a network of like minded people so it’s a double whammy really!


A huge part of Imposter Syndrome is actively avoiding the evidence that you’re not a fraud.  Write a list of all the reasons you know what you’re talking about. All the training, life experience, qualifications, books read, time spent taking online training.

Visualise a time you’re achieved something when you’ve felt really capable and proud of yourself.  Reminding the brain of these moments can help calm the fear centre in your brain.

Stop looking at successes you HAVE had as luck and appreciate your hard work and effort.

On the flip side, are you actually being a bit of an imposter, if you are what do you need to do to NOT be?


Literally rewire neural pathways in your brain to not go to the negative on auto pilot through a process called neuroplasticity. For example, ‘I’m amazing at what I do and am highly qualified.’


Keep a folder of all the lovely things people say and who you’ve made a difference to.  If you’re ever feeling like a fraud go read it!


Seriously, even if it’s uncomfortable just say thank you.  Don’t let your b


Use prompts like the one I mentioned above about listing your achievements.  Journaling will help you keep track of what you’ve achieved too so you will be able to look back over your entries and see just how far you’ve come.  Check out my printable journals here for some ideas.


Every time that uber successful person you admire uplevels, launches a new programme, anything new..they feels like an imposter to begin with…then they do the thing and guess what, they stop feeling like an imposter!

So there you have it.  Some great ways to keep that Imposter syndrome gremlin in check!

When you actually understand and ‘name it’ it really helps it feels MUCH easier to deal with.

Remember you’re the only one that can put your message into the world that somebody else needs to hear right at that time, said by you!

You can CHOOSE to push through the feeling or let it stop you, it really is up to you.  But once you do it you only grow in confidence, know that!

Only talk about what you KNOW you know, you’ve just gotta be a couple of steps in front of someone to be able to help them, you don’t have to know EVERYTHING, the reality is there will always be someone who knows more than you…but there will also ALWAYS be people who know less…talk to them!


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