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How to overcome “Imposter Syndrome”

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HC Online | 13 Apr 2015, 07:26 AM Agree 0
If you feel like a fraud following your big promotion you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Here’s how to recover.
  • Suzanne Mercier | 13 Apr 2015, 03:23 PM Agree 0
    Thanks Nicola for raising an important subject. I'm delighted to see the subject raised more frequently in the press and to find that often a majority of participants in my workshops and masterclasses have heard of the imposter syndrome. The syndrome is a totally distorted self-view where the individual fails to see what he/she offers (qualities and capabilities) or fails to understand the value of those qualities and capabilities. After all, if they feel that they're not good enough and they can do XYZ, it can't exactly be rocket science.

    Understanding they are experiencing the syndrome and that around 70% of people do from time to time, is liberating. People no longer feel they're alone, separate and not good enough. They start to understand that it is a belief that they can examine and challenge.

    The 3 steps to move forward are fine in as far as they go. Before we can acknowledge and claim our successes, we need to understand that we had something to do with them. Before we can do that, we need to understand and accept the qualities and capabilities that are uniquely ours in their combination.

    Self-criticism is certainly an outcome of feeling that we're not enough. A way to help people move past the judgement they impose on themselves is to recognise that the feeling of not being enough is actually a call to action; a call to evolve to the next stage of our human development. Like anything in life, it's not what happens, it's what we do about it. We can hear the call and step up (learn what we need to, take on new skills, go for stretch opportunities, be adventurous or whatever it takes to get us to the next level) or we can perceive the call as a signal that we aren't enough and pull back inside our comfort zones. It's a choice that we're making albeit unconsciously. The opportunity is to listen to what we're saying to ourselves and question it. We can question what triggered the criticism and in doing that, we can uncover some of the beliefs we hold that may not be serving us.

    The final area of accepting the existence of fears and doubts is absolutely true. However, I do believe we can challenge those fears and doubts to understand why they exist. If they are the natural fears associated with doing something we haven't done before, fine. If they are fears based on the feeling that who we are and what we can do is not enough, then I believe the possibility of living up to our own potential requires that we examine and challenge them.

    If anyone wants more information on the Imposter Syndrome, please visit, an information site dedicated to understanding the imposter syndrome and what lies beyond it.
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