3 Strategies to Cope with the Impostor Syndrome

How to deal with the fear of failure despite a sustained record of achievement and success


Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment of an eight part series entitled “Self-Awareness for the Emerging Entrepreneur” part 1 Refining the Art of Saying Yes or No, part 2: 4 Tips to Achieve Positive Habits, part 3: 4 Language Shifts for Success, part 4: Identifying Patterns in Self Talk- 3 Scenarios
part 5: Managing the Company You Keep

Recently I watched a video of a major pop star discussing her fear of making another album. This woman has the talent that has earned her a certified platinum status on her second album, yet in this interview she was talking about her fear of not being good enough as a singer, including not even liking her own voice. At the time of the interview she was an established “star,” yet she continued to carry that fear.

I love talking about the Impostor Syndrome because it is a phenomenon so many Brilliant leaders experience. You know that moment when you say “I started this business but one day someone is going to find out that I’m not a savvy businessman at all.” Or, “I tell people I am the expert of race car tires, but what if they find out I don’t really know as much as I should?” Those moments of self-doubt and fear of being “found out” of what we’re “not” are what make up the Impostor Syndrome. It is said that up to 70% of us will experience it as some point or another. However, women and people of color are more likely to experience it.

The question isn’t how to avoid it. The question is, how to get through it. Here are 3 strategies to help you:


How many of us are taught to not brag about how great we are? How many of us are taught that we don’t want to share our virtues too loudly because we do not want to make others feel bad? So what if we created a win-win situation? Every time you allowed yourself to shine, you were giving permission for others to do the same. What if you allowed yourself to fully own your Awesomeness?

What if every time someone said “Angel, that sales funnel you suggested was Brilliant!” you simply said “Thank You!” instead of saying “nah, it was everyone’s doing.” Every time you skirt a compliment you perpetuate the Imposter Syndrome. And every time you take full responsibility for your gifts, talents, outcomes, etc. you take one step closer to breaking it within yourself.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?…”

-Marianne Williamson

Next Page: Steps 2 and 3


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