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Five steps to stop you feeling like an imposter

7 Feb

Have you ever had that feeling you don't know as much as everyone else?

A red apple with a bite out of it placed in front of a mirror. The reflection shows the side of the apple that's undamaged and perfect-looking.

Have you ever had that feeling…

  • You don't know as much as everyone else
  • You are out of your depth
  • At any moment you could be discovered and asked why you were there
  • You are a fraud
  • You are not as good as people think you are and you feel exhausted and anxious trying to keep up the pretence

If you answered yes to any of the statements above, then you, my friend, have or are suffering from the crippling Imposter Syndrome but the good news is there is a way out of it.

The term first coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, when they found that despite having evidence to contrary , people with imposter syndrome remained convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have.

Originally associated with women where it is still prevalent with 93% of UK women admitting to feeling like an imposter. It has now been reported 70% of us men and women will suffer from Imposter Syndrome at some stage in our life showing an increase in recent years.

So what is the cause? And why is it on the increase?

One cause is our quest for the mythical ideal that is perfection. The perfect body, the perfect looks, the perfect career, the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect life.


Our perfection mindset has been well nurtured since the beginning of our existence. Today social media makes it easier than ever to compare ourselves to others and sets unrealistic and unattainable expectations.

The more we try to keep up with the pretence the more we feel like a fraud and deny ourselves the success and the happiness we truly want. This vicious circle can lead to other mental health issues as we convince ourselves we are simply not good enough or worthy of our own success.

So how do we stop feeling like an imposter, and take back control of our emotions to enjoy our own success?

Here are 5 steps to stop feeling like an imposter

Acknowledge it. Like anything we want to overcome, firstly we have to acknowledge it. No one else is inside your head listening and giving power to your inner critic, it is just you. It sounds harsh but it is true this is your internal struggle and only you could do something about it. The good news is by reading this post you are already you have taken the first step!

Let go of being perfect.  Accept and learn to love who you are flaws and all (I could write a whole blog on this topic along - in fact I will but for now just start by being kinder to yourself, look at the stories you are telling yourself ones that make you feel like less than you are and find an alternative.

Recognise your own success. Remind yourself of your own power, take note of what you know and what you  have achieved so far. Write a list of all you accomplishments, all your strengths, everything you are good at. If you are struggling write down what you enjoy often it is the stuff we are good at. You may want to enlist someone who you trust to help you. Often people close to us see the qualities we miss. Soak it in, allow yourself time to enjoy what you have achieved.

Set yourself for success. Give yourself the best chance by creating the habits that help you stay in this mindset. Look for situations where you can thrive. Surround yourself with those who encourage you and put boundaries around those who do the opposite. Find time in your daily routine to have time to yourself to focus on you and where you are headed as this new imposter free power house.

Celebrate. Every win big and small needs celebrating. Give yourself time to enjoy the moment and be present. Do not loose sight of where you are going and remember that is a confidence version of you without the imposter not chasing a unicorn called perfection!

I hope you have found this helpful. If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome you are not alone. For more help on how to overcome your specific imposter syndrome, feel free to contact me for a complimentary session.

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