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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Hey you…what do you think you’re doing? Who do you think you are? You’re not good enough to be here!!.....

That familiar voice of Imposter Syndrome.

Let me start by saying, if you have ever suffered with Imposter Syndrome you are not alone, most of us do. It exists and is very real.

Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome

In fact, it has its own name as so many of us can identify with it at one time or another. This syndrome is as much a part of our lives as getting dressed.

  • Does it sometime feel as though you struggle to believe you deserve your pay rise, the fees that people keep paying you, that you are not clever enough or talented enough to hold the job that you do?

  • Do you believe that your success is either a fluke or something you just don’t deserve? Do you fear it will all disappear at any moment?

  • Do you worry that one day you will be found out, people will know you are a fraud?

  • Do you struggle to accept praise and compliments?

These moments of fear and inadequacy are so common and usually appear just at the point of our success. How is this fair, why can’t we just enjoy our moments?

So, what are some of the most common signs of Imposter Syndrome?

  • Self-doubt

  • Overachieving

  • Fear

  • Self-sabotage

  • Lack of self confidence

  • Inadequacy

  • Distrust in your own capabilities

  • Irrational fears

  • Negative self-talk

When we think about our favourite movie star or the person, we most admire it’s hard to imagine they might suffer from Imposter Syndrome and our first question isn’t likely to be do you think they do. It’s more likely that we see great confidence, intelligence and beauty and think they are completely in control of their life.

We then might compare ourselves to them and somehow go from admiration of another to self-doubt, negative self- talk and loathing of oneself.

Below are quotes from two movies stars who you might find it hard to imagine feel this way, but they do, perhaps we can take comfort from them speaking up and remember they are human too.

Meryl Streep ‘You think, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”

 Kate Winslet

‘Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this. I’m a fraud.’

One of my client said to me in a session ‘Imposter syndrome fundamentally underpins my lack of self-esteem’….wow!

So what can be done? How can we overcome Imposter Syndrome?

Break the silence, shame stops many of us from fessing up. Talking about those feelings and knowing you are not alone can really free you from the pattern and sense of self-doubt.

Stop suffering in silence, get a coach and become aware of the conversation going on in your head. Allow yourself to be supported whilst you work on a new narrative and understanding of what your triggers are.

Work out what are facts and what are the stories you are telling yourself. It can really help to write a list and beside each point write fact or story. Once you have established what are facts you can come up with the necessary plan to change the thought pattern or make any changes you feel important.

Celebrate and reward yourself. Stop ignoring all of the amazing achievements in your life and things you have accomplished. Pay attention to those moments, celebrate and raise your confidence and self-esteem through this awareness.

Visualise your success. I work with many of my clients on visualisation. My clients take the situation, event or goal and picture themselves doing it well, feeling calm in the process and enjoying the experience.

Reframe your thoughts, you have the power to see the situation in a different way. Look for the positive, what can be learnt, what are you assuming? Perhaps you could see the problem or situation as a challenge, this can make it much more exciting.

Use positive affirmations, making sure you add your name. By adding your name this has a powerful effect on how you perceive yourself. Get in front of that mirror and tell yourself how great you are.

Fake it until you make it! There is something to be said about this old saying, if you keep doing something over and over again such as believing you are confident, you will eventually feel confident. If you practice, practice, practice you will learn that instrument or drive that vehicle, most of us already have lots of experience of this. So do it again this time with confident, don’t wait until you feel it, practice being confident until you are.

✩ Further tips on building self-confidence can be found in my download ‘How to Develop Self-Confidence’ ✩

Remember you are not alone and it’s your narrative, you have the power to change the pattern.


To book an appointment with Nikki contact Nikki Hill Coaching today.

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