Do you struggle with imposter syndrome?
Have you ever felt undeserving of the praise you receive? As though you are a fraud in your career or relationship? Perhaps you are always anticipating being exposed for what you feel you really are at any given moment?
If so, then the answer is probably yes.
I’ve been a therapist my whole adult life, and I can tell you this is one of the most common mental barriers people deal with—but it’s one you absolutely have the power to overcome.
So, today, we’re going to discuss what imposter syndrome is, its tell-tale signs, and the most effective and powerful ways to remove it from your life for good.
Imposter Syndrome Meaning
We can define imposter syndrome as a lack of confidence and self-belief that makes you doubt your ability and worth, often leaving you feeling like a fraud.
To understand this a little more, we can look to the number one belief that lies within imposter syndrome…
“I am not enough.”
People who suffer from imposter syndrome often feel they aren’t attractive, smart, or talented enough to be where they are.
This self-doubt makes you feel like you can fool everyone—but yourself. And when you don’t believe that you are good enough, you will always feel like a fraud in your achievements.
Let’s unpack this a little further…
What Does Imposter Syndrome Feel Like?
To understand what imposter syndrome feels like, we must understand how the false belief, “I am not enough,” affects and hinders our lives.
One of the most telling signs of this is the inability to accept praise.
When you have imposter syndrome, you believe everything you do well and receive praise for is a fluke. You believe that everyone is better than you, more deserving than you and that you are simply a fraud.
It doesn’t matter how many people tell you differently—you could be told every day how amazing you are, yet you still don’t believe it because you don’t feel that it’s true.
It can also make you skeptical of the person praising you, as you don’t believe they are telling the truth. You find it so unbelievable that they wish to praise you that it can make you feel like they have an ulterior motive for doing so.
The truth is, praise from others is invalid unless you believe in yourself. If you don’t believe that you are enough, then there isn’t enough praise in the world that can make you think or believe differently.
You think you have managed to fool them, but you haven’t fooled yourself—but don’t worry, you aren’t alone in feeling this way.
Is Imposter Syndrome Common?
As a therapist, I’m frequently asked about imposter syndrome, and it’s far more common than you may think. Especially in high-achievers, who find it incredibly difficult to accept their accomplishments.
In fact, recent studies have shown that 70% of professional women have imposter syndrome compared to 40% of professional men.
It’s important to recognize that this doesn’t even include people who don’t deem themselves as professionals. So it’s evident that imposter syndrome is a very widespread issue.
Imposter Syndrome Examples
People often think their imposter syndrome will go away when they’ve reached a certain point of success, but this isn’t true. You can still have imposter syndrome even when you’ve achieved your biggest goals, and for some, it actually makes it worse.
By looking at some examples, we can see that no matter where you are in life, imposter syndrome can affect us all.
Firstly, we have Emma Watson, who famously explained, “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.’”
Tom Hanks also shared this feeling, stating, “No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’”
And Robert Pattinson, who remarked, “In a lot of ways, I’m quite proud that I’m still getting jobs. Because of falling into a job, you always feel like you’re a fraud, that you’re going to be thrown out at any second.”
Notice the use of the word “fraud” in each of their explanations of how it feels to reach their level of success? They feel lucky—and often, they feel incredibly inadequate.
They, too, lack the confidence and self-belief that they are enough and worthy of the praise and admiration they receive, even though they are all extremely gifted at what they do.
A large contributor to this is the immense pressure they have to live up to the perfect images of what it means to be a megastar that we have come to expect of them.
Although on a much smaller scale, our feelings are also hugely influenced by the pressure of perfect imagery through social media.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper…
The Influence of Social Media
When we look at what triggers imposter syndrome, it frequently comes down to our over-exposure to fake images of perfection.
This is especially prevalent in social media and often causes us to fall victim to comparing ourselves to a reality that doesn’t even exist.
We look at these images in the media or online and think, “Wow, they have a beautiful relationship,” “They’re doing amazing in their career,” “Their lives are perfect.”
When looking at these images, we would think it would be impossible for these people to be rejected—but that’s just not true.
As we have already discussed, even those we look at and think must have it all regularly deal with imposter syndrome of their own. This leaves us all believing the lie, “I am not enough.”
If you need more confidence and self-esteem wiring into your mind, I would love you to check out my I Am Enough guided meditation. Here, we will take a few minutes to deeply relax and code in powerful affirmations that will help you ground yourself and spark confidence in your life.
Impact on Relationships
Social media’s images of perfection can also be a major trigger of imposter syndrome in relationships.
It leads us to compare our relationships with other people’s highlight reels, and can also cause us to look at others and think we aren’t as smart or attractive as those we see online.
This can make you question why your amazing partner is interested in you, causing you to feel unworthy and not enough to be their partner. The truth is, the images we see of relationships on social media are not reality.
Remember this—we all have something amazing to offer the world, and the best you can ever be is a flawed person.
You are flawed, the people you love are flawed, we are all on this journey of life together as flawed people. Once you realize this, you’ll feel so relieved.
If this is something you need to work on, then I recommend you watch my video on How To Accept Yourself and Love Yourself to the Fullest. Here, I sit down with you to give you advice on how you can start to truly accept yourself and overcome low self-esteem and self-doubt to realize you are enough—just as you are.
Imposter Syndrome at Work
Another situation where imposter syndrome commonly occurs is in our careers. You can have the job of your dreams and yet still don’t feel good enough or worthy enough of this accomplishment.
The fear is that people will see you as a fraud who will somehow one day be caught out and told that you shouldn’t be in that job, and you never should’ve been. That it was all one big mistake.
Obviously, this is not the case in reality.
You may have undertaken years of training, built up experience, and worked your way up the ladder with many long nights to get that job. You may have prepared a portfolio of your work and undergone numerous interview rounds—and they made the decision that you were the best for the role.
But it doesn’t matter how much positive feedback you gain or how many awards you win. Your self-doubt will always come out on top—and this is where imposter syndrome often enters our work lives.
Do you have imposter syndrome at work? Here’s how to spot it…
When someone praises you with “Wow, I loved your presentation,” do you deflect and diminish that praise by saying something like, “Oh, it was really easy to put together, I already had most of the information given to me.” By responding in this way, you are taking away all its value.
People who have imposter syndrome at work also commonly overwork themselves. You don’t believe you are good enough to be where you are, and therefore you are in a constant attempt to work your hardest to keep up with the impossible standards you have given yourself. This is where perfectionism often enters imposter syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome and Perfectionism
People with imposter syndrome can’t accept success and will always try to do more in the search for perfection.
Ironically, those who strive for perfection are often the unhappiest people—you can find out why here.
The important thing to realize is that there is no perfection. Nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist.
In fact, the number one habit stopping you from being successful is waiting for perfection. And when we don’t reach those impossible standards we set ourselves, we decide we must be a failure.
Remember, when you set out for perfection, it’s a destination you will never reach.
It’s like entering a race with no finishing line.
Rather, the happiest people are those who hold the knowledge that they are enough even with their flaws.
This mindset shift is why it’s actually very easy to fix imposter syndrome—continue reading to find out how.
How Do You Fix Imposter Syndrome?
It’s important to note that although imposter syndrome can cause havoc with our progression, productivity, and relationships, it’s very simple to overcome.
Here are three simple steps to start taking right now to expand away from imposter syndrome…
1. Harness the power of words
The first step is to understand the power of words and pay close attention to what’s going on inside our minds. Of course, it’s normal to have some self-doubt, but you have to be very careful of what you repeatedly say to yourself.
A little trick I like to do is to imagine you are recording your thoughts. Now you will notice how many times you say, “Well that was a fluke,” “I don’t know how I did that,” “I don’t know if I can do that again.”
Instead, upgrade your thoughts and nurture yourself with the truth.
“I am enough.”
“I don’t need to be perfect, because I am already enough.”
Surround yourself with these words. Tell yourself, “I am enough,” when you wake up each morning, and remind yourself of this throughout the day by writing it in places around your home you will repeatedly see.
If you would like to strengthen your knowledge of the power of words, then I’d love for you to watch my video on the Amazing Secrets of Your Mind. Here, I explain the importance of the words we use and how we can work with our minds for incredible results.
2. Learn to accept praise
You should also keep a close eye on your dialogue with others. For example, do you diffuse, dilute, or diminish praise given to you by your friends or colleagues?
If your friend says, “I really love your outfit,” do you say, “Oh, I’ve had it for 10 years, I got it second hand, it’s actually got a hole in it”?
Praise is a gift. When someone gives you a gift, it’s always best practice to say thank you.
This is also true for when someone gives you praise and you thank them by mirroring the same compliment at them.
“I love your outfit.”
“I love your outfit too.”
To put this into perspective, imagine I gave you a gift, and you gave me back exactly the same thing. All we’ve done is exchange what we gave one another—and we’re both back to where we were before.
Of course, it’s great to praise one another, but that doesn’t mean we must diminish our own praise in the process. So when someone praises you, let it in.
Say, “Thank you, I’m so glad you love my outfit, I love it too.”
To overcome imposter syndrome, you must get into the habit of accepting praise until you are an expert at it.
3. Learn to praise yourself
One of the fastest ways to overcome imposter syndrome is to tell yourself the words you are waiting to hear from others.
Perhaps you don’t have a boss, maybe you run your own business or you’re working from home. When you don’t have people around you who praise you, you are in a praise deficit.
But there is a simple solution to this—learn to praise yourself.
Consider what you need to hear daily to free yourself from imposter syndrome.
Say, “I’m amazing at what I do,” “I’ve achieved so much today,” “My communication skills are fantastic,” “I have phenomenal coping skills.”
Perhaps you need to hear it more—praise yourself on an hourly basis.
It doesn’t matter what you do or what you’re good at. Start recognizing areas where you can express and praise yourself regularly.
This is all about empowering yourself. Because when you wait to hear praise from others, you give them all the power over how you feel.
To make this effective, you must truly believe the words, “I am enough.” I have something next to help you instill this belief into your life…
Overcome Imposter Syndrome With Self-Hypnosis
Suppose you have decided you no longer wish to journey through life feeling like an imposter in your own life. In that case, I highly recommend you download my self-hypnosis audio Overcome Imposter Syndrome.
As the founder of Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®), I know the remarkable impact of self-hypnosis in creating powerful mindset shifts that help us reshape and rewrite our reality.
That’s why I created this audio, to help you reprogram your mind at a deep, subconscious level. Working together to instill a belief that imposter syndrome is sabotaging self-doubt that you used to fear and is no longer a part of who you are.
Our minds learn through repetition, and so with consistent effort, this audio’s effect on your confidence and self-esteem could bring you phenomenal, potentially life-changing results.
Most people start to experience results within the first 21 days— I would love for you to try it out for yourself.
This is all about you investing in yourself and making your future a priority by releasing all your current emotions surrounding imposter syndrome, for a life of confidence, self-esteem, and freedom.
Walking Away From Imposter Syndrome Forever
I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to help so many people overcome imposter syndrome in their lives, and I want you to know that help is available for you to do the same.
Take the steps that will no longer allow imposter syndrome to live in your mind so that it can never steal your joy, hinder your progress, and halt your happiness again.
Remember to be kind to yourself, listen to yourself, and nurture yourself with words of self-belief and encouragement.
Accept praise and empower yourself by praising yourself because you know you deserve it, you are worth it, and you are good enough—more than enough.
Each and every day your self-esteem will grow, and as this happens, your fear of not being good enough will shrink.
You won’t ever have to face imposter syndrome again. Instead, you’ll be able to live authentically with confidence, accept yourself fully, and realize that you are amazing, worthy, and have something incredible to offer the world.
Because you are enough.
Regain confidence in yourself and eradicate imposter syndrome to freely and proudly live the life you deserve by downloading my Overcome Imposter Syndrome audio here.