The Imposter Syndrome: What Is & How To Overcome It?

The Imposter Syndrome is a term used to describe self-doubt around one’s capabilities.

It is often connected to a series of limiting beliefs, fears and behaviors that assume that “what other people know” is more important than “what you know” about yourself.

The reality is both perceptions are equally important.

Your self-perception is NOT (and should not be) lesser than “other” people’s opinions of you or your work.

Did you know…? It is estimated that over 80 % of female leaders and entrepreneurs experience this phenomenon which directly and indirectly affects their personal and professional development, particularly in the workplace.

There are many symptoms that expose the Imposter Syndrome, depending on a person’s history, context and experiences they can definitely vary.

The most common symptoms are: self-doubt, negative self-talk, anxiety, self-sabotage, feeling of inadequacy, lack of self-confidence, not wanting to be seen or recognized; and extreme comparison with other people.

According to Dr. Valerie Young, co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute, there are five types of Imposter Syndrome:

  • Perfectionist: Focuses on “how” something is done. Feels a sense of inadequacy and sense of self tied to *being* good enough therefore strive for perfection to measure up.
  • Natural Genius: Focuses on “how” and “when” accomplishments happen. Feels a *need* to deliver the first time they do a task so they don’t feel like imposters.
  • Soloist: Focuses on “who” completes the task. Feels not possible to ask for help or guidance because that would mean they are a fraud therefore, they end up working hard and alone
  • Expert: Focuses on “what” and “how much” they know and can do. Feels a *need* to know everything about what they do in order to be measured or perceived as competent
  • Superhero: Focuses on “how many” roles they can play and succeed with. Feels a strong desire to excel at every role they play in business and in life.

Are you working to overcome the Imposter Syndrome?

A first step is to identify and accept that you are experiencing it.

A second step is to recognize the different signs where it appears in your daily life and work settings and try to practice self-compassion.

A third step is to seek professional help from mental health therapists and life coaches that can guide you with strategies to cope with the deep-seated beliefs and emotions that may arise when challenging this concept.

If you are starting or have already started this process, here are a list of questions that can help you reflect upon this phenomenon:

  • In which ways are you “giving power” to the assumption that other people’s opinions of you are “better than” or “more important” than your own? What is the origin of this belief?
  • Which habits, stories, symbols, environments from your past and present support this belief?
  • Were you raised in families or communities where tangible achievements were “valued more” above anything else? If so, why it was that way? What purpose did it serve?
  • Do you agree with those narratives? Do you want to change them?
  • If so, how can you start today? Which first step can you easily take today to experience something different?
  • What do you wish to experience aside from the Imposter Syndrome? How do you want to feel? Why?

Take these questions with you.

Brainstorm, answer, play or rewrite them in whichever way suits you or your loved ones.

If you choose to do this exercise with your family or friends, practice deep listening, compassion and if possible, refrain from judgement.

Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome is a process that takes time, decision-making and continuous support.

Are you working to overcome the Imposter Syndrome? What has helped you?

Share below your tips in the comment section.

Talk soon,



If you would like more support on leadership and entrepreneurship mindset, book a 60 min. ThetaHealing or Business Coaching session with me here.

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