Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Monday, July 30, 2018

One of my favorite life mantra's is Fake It Till You Make It. I have lived by this for most of my life and definitely at the onset of any new challenge, job, role or endeavor. Mostly because everytime I achieve a new goal or accomplishment I feel just a bit like a fraud. Like someone is going to find out that I really don't know exactly what the hell I am doing and call me out on it. Imposter Syndrome was actually named in the 80's and it's a very real thing for both men and women but I think especially women. I have graduated high school and college. I am raising 3 kids and have been parenting for 2 decades now. I have been married and divorced. I have had umpteen jobs.  I have tons of life experience at all kinds of things. Guess how many times anyone has ever accused me of being a fraud? Zero. Yet at forty something years old I still feel those feelings of being an imposter. I bet a lot of you know exactly what I am talking about too.

For me it actually is much less now than it used to be. The truth of the matter is that no one pays anywhere near as much attention to you as you do. We think everyone is scrutinizing the way we do our jobs, parent our children, the clothes we wear, what we do in our spare time, and the reality is they couldn't give a rat's ass. They are too busy worrying about their own lives to give that much brain power to what the heck anyone else is doing and whether or not they are really capable of doing it.

I bring this up because even though I mostly feel like an expert in my own mind the imposter stuff creeps in now and again and I have to consciously squash it. I use this technique for a lot of negative thoughts in general, it's something that Danika Brysha teaches at the Brunch Series. Everytime I start thinking "what the hell am I doing, I can't do this and people are going to see that I am a fraud" about anything I consciously say a word or phrase out loud (if I am alone) or in my head to shift my thought pattern. It could be any word at all but just something to get your mind focused on what you are doing that is not serving you and cueing a mental shift. Seriously it works. Like right now my personal favorite is "Jimmy Choo Shoes", don't ask me why but it rolls off the tongue and makes me think of success. Pick a word and try it the next time you are having negative self thoughts, if nothing else you will start laughing and  releasing some endorphins.

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So here's the good news about Imposter Syndrome. Only high achieving people actually experience it. Those who set the bar really low and just skate by rarely feel like a fraud, they don't give a shit.  So if you occasionally feel like this, congrats! It's because you likely aim high and are committed to giving your all in most everything that you do.  What I have learned is that you don't have to achieve perfection to be worthy of a title, a promotion or an accolade. We are so hard on ourselves. You can be a work in progress and be an asset to many, a positive force, an important part of your team or a role model for someone else. How cool is that?

So, next time you start second guessing yourself just know that no one but you is likely even thinking about it. Own where you are, because you can be anywhere you want to be doing whatever it is that makes you happy. You should be an expert at that because one thing is for sure, no one else can be. Keep your head high, keep setting goals and when in doubt fake it till you make it.

Happy Monday!



  1. Love this . . . and I'm also a fake it until you make it person. Especially after starting back to work from a 12 year hiatus . . . I can't possibly know everything I need but I keep saying, fake it until you make it. And now the only phrase I could use when I'm feeling "insecure" or like a fraud is Jimmy Choo Shoes because duh, it's perfect!!! Makes me think of Carrie in Sex in the City too . . . she was fabulous!

  2. Man this is so me. I do this to myself constantly and only last year heard of this ‘syndrome’ and realized I’ve been doing it for so long. I now have to consciously tell myself I can do it. Love this post and thanks for highlighting this issue.

  3. Ah yes, you gotta love self doubt. I totally fake it til I make it in a lot of aspects of my life. I feel like an imposter adult most days lol.