Spread the Love

Do you ever feel like a sheep in wolf’s clothing? Do you question your value, and accomplishments and dread that one day you may be exposed to be the fraud you feel like you are? You are not alone. In truth, research has shown that well over 50% of men and women face daunting self-doubt, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy –  coined imposter syndrome. Follow these 6 simple steps to crush the curse of self-doubt and build confidence to overcome imposter syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome occurs when an individual struggles or fails to internalize their skills, expertise, or achievements and often discounts these as luck. As children, it is common to be rewarded for successes and “punished” or excluded for failure. Thus, it makes sense that from a young age, many of us internalize the premise that to be accepted, loved, or to be deemed lovable, we need to achieve first. This becomes the vicious, self-perpetuating cycle of negative self-talk and manifests as impostor syndrome in various aspects of life.

The good news? If you fear that you might be a fraud, the likelihood is that you are not! In the same way that mothers sometimes question whether they are bad mothers (I can relate), it seems to make sense that truly “bad mothers” typically lack the self-awareness or caring to question their proficiency at motherhood. After all, a true impostor is not apprehensive about whether they are one or not.


After mulling ideas on what topic would most authentically open the world of blogging for me, the one thing I knew for sure is that it had to be authentic. It had to be something personal, relatable, and vulnerable. I am proud to say, as someone who has certainly suffered dramatic bouts of imposter syndrome myself, I consider myself an expert in the condition.

I recently had a session with an executive coaching client, a lead legal counsel in a Fortune 500 company. She expressed feelings of self-doubt and insecurity at work. She also mentioned avoiding trivia games with old friends. Her fear was revealing she wasn’t as smart as they believed. Interestingly, I realized then it’s not the ‘not knowing’ that’s problematic. It’s the assumed meaning and how we think others perceive us that is.

As someone who is arguably very well-read, I often find myself cringing at the question, “Do you know such and such an author, or have you read…”

Why? Because my perception is that if I don’t, I should, and the person asking probably thinks I should.

Being Uniquely You

As a hypnotherapist and integrative life coach for nearly 10 years, I’ve changed countless lives. Yet, impostor syndrome has held me back from blogging. It’s also stopped me from starting a cherished goal – writing my first book. Now, I’m taking the first step by writing this blog. I’m practicing what I coach others – you are more than enough. Your unique self is valuable to the world.

I wouldn’t be sincere or practical if I suggested that you could eliminate this condition overnight. However, considering how it has prevented you from seizing exciting new opportunities, experiences, making connections, and fully enjoying your life and achievements, you can clearly see the benefit of taking these six simple steps to overturn this harmful mindset habit.

6 Simple Steps to Upend Imposter Syndrome

1. Is it True?

Observe your inner voice and when you have the gist of it, pause and ask yourself, “Is it True?” If you need to ask this question, more often than not, the answer will be, no. Reset and validate what is true. Practice this, as it’s through practice that you make progress and expose the inner critic as the fraud it truly is.

2. Dissociate Yourself and Practice Self-Love

Imagine hearing someone you love (think sister, daughter, father, mother, best friend, etc.) saying the words in your mind out loud to you about themselves. Notice the compassion and empathy you feel towards them and your inclination to correct their self-deprecation/doubt and reframe it with caring truth and positive reinforcement. Now imagine floating over into their body and being on the receiving end of all this love, compassion, and truth. Ground yourself and practice self-love.

3. Watch Your Words and Find Solace in Silence

“I feel,” “this is probably a stupid idea,” and “I’m not sure, but…” are all examples of verbal confidence blockers. Certain words, phrases, and gestures become negatively habituated due to “playing impostor.” The easiest way to reframe this is to observe, slow down the internal voice, and find comfort in silence. Silence generates space for creativity, peace, and feeling more comfortable in one’s own skin. Take your time to choose internal as well as external words wisely. In certain settings, jotting down a keyword, affirmation or reminder can also serve as an additional visual stimulus to entrain your brain to the positive. (Ensure the stimulus IS POSITIVE and not a negation.)

4. Own your “Not Knowing”

Empower yourself by reframing “I Don’t Know” as an opportunity to expand your knowledge base and learn something new, interesting, and different. All too often, when confronted with a question, we don’t have the answer to, the impostor jumps into action, confirming what a fraud we are. Pause, take a soothing breath, and realize the quiet, subtle power in confidently stating that you don’t know. Tone and confidence is key, it’s ok not to know without apology. You could offer to find the answer, or if in a position of authority, reframe the question by validating it as a great question, “I don’t know, what do you/others think?”

5. Apply the Van Gogh Principle

Van Gogh was quoted as follows, “If you happen to hear a voice inside you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice might be silenced.” Few things quiet the inner critic more effectively than taking direct antithetical action. Ask for that raise, write that blog, make that phone call, ask with intention and authority and you might even surprise yourself and strengthen that confidence muscle.

Van Gogh principle

6. Celebrate Successes

Take time to validate successes, however small. Acknowledge that with each success you are becoming a better version of yourself.


Imposter Syndrome Who?