3 ways to kick imposter syndrome to the kerb and #walkwithconfidence

 Imposter Syndrome

3 ways to kick imposter syndrome to the kerb and #walkwithconfidence

Let’s start with what exactly is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is the all-too-common feeling that your success in life is down to luck rather than your own talent or skills and that you don’t deserve your achievements – sad, huh?!


The term was first introduced in the 1970s by two psychologists (Pauline Rose Chance and Suzanna Imes) who studied over 150 high-achieving women and found all of them shared the same belief that they weren’t as intelligent or as successful as their achievements would suggest, and that they were ‘fooling those around them and felt like frauds.


While the first study summarised that imposter syndrome only affected women, over time research has shown that around 70 percent of people (females and males) will experience the phenomenon at some point in their lives.

What are some signs you could be suffering from imposter syndrome?

Those who experience imposter syndrome often have a habit of brushing off praise and undermining their own successes as well as overworking and an unhealthy focus on their flaws. Some signs you could be experiencing imposter syndrome are:


Do you attribute your success to luck?
Are you afraid you will be ‘found out’ as a fraud?
Do you agonise over the smallest errors in your work?#perfectionism
Are you very sensitive to feedback, even in the form of constructive criticism?
Do you downplay your own skills and expertise?


You’re not alone, anyone can suffer from imposter syndrome!

Whilst you may feel like you are the only person with imposter syndrome… spoiler alert: you’re not! Even celebrities, who can be seen as perfect shiny people, can experience imposter syndrome… remember, around 70 percent of people have these feelings throughout their lives.

Here are what some women in the spotlight have said about their personal experiences of imposter syndrome:

‘I still have a little impostor syndrome… it doesn’t go away, that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously. What do I know? I share that with you because we all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.’

- Michelle Obama


‘Sometimes I wake up at night and go, “Oh, damn! Here we go again! What were they thinking? They gave me this role; don’t they know I’m faking it?”’

- Renee Zellweger


‘Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great, I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”’

- Maya Angelou


‘Even though I had sold 70 million albums, there I was feeling like “‘I’m no good at this.”’

- Jennifer Lopez


‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’

- Sheryl Sandberg

So, how do we overcome imposter syndrome?

3 ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome and #walkwithconfidence


1. Separate feelings from facts

When the I’m not good enough story starts to creep in, take a moment to acknowledge what you’re feeling and realise just because you’re thinking this… it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Feelings vs Facts.

Instead, run through a checklist of your accomplishments – from awards, to an email of recognition from your boss, to a card from your child telling you what a great parent you are, to that SMS from a friend thanking you for your support… even to getting out of bed and brushing your teeth after a night of no sleep.

No matter what it is, give yourself your own high-five for being ‘good enough!


2. Stop comparing

We are all different, every time you compare yourself to others you will find some fault with yourself, which will further reinforce your existing ‘not good enough beliefs’so stop!

We are all running our own race in life with success meaning different things to different people.

Take your own definition of success and strive for that.

Remember: with 70 percent of people experiencing imposter syndrome, it is highly likely the people you are comparing yourself to are insecure about their success too.


3. Surround yourself with cheerleaders

(Not actual cheerleaders with pom poms).

More along the lines of people who have your back, are there to encourage, support and listen when you falter.

These people could be your friends, family, a partner, mentor or professional help from a psychologist, counsellor or couch.

Your cheer squad want the best for you and you reciprocate, building each other up to be the best version of YOU!


Not sure how to build your cheer squad? Start with us! HerParade is here to help you #walkwithconfidence!

Join our #walkwithconfidence movement - find out more here

Become a HerParade Cheer Squad member here

1 comment

  • Yes!! Perfect timing for me to read this piece!! I had a very big ‘imposter syndrome day’ today. Thank you for writing this!


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