Imposter Syndrome. Do you have it too?

Coaching vs Therapy - Imposter Syndrome - Coaching Words - CoachMe Vancouver

Blog by CoachMe Founder Nadine Stille

Over the years, Imposter Syndrome kept coming back into my life. I even called it out publicly and wrote a blog about it. It needed challenging and calling out, in order for me to get back in charge. 

There’s a good reason Sheryl Sandberg’s quote “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” is the screensaver on my phone.


For one, it’s an excellent coaching question. Second, I need it to remind me that there are options and choices.

Check out this 4 minute animated TED Talks video by Elizabeth Cox for further details.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

“…common feelings of fraudulence; feelings that you haven’t earned an accomplishment or that your ideas and skills are not worthy of others’ attention. It’s been identified across all ages, genders, races, and a wide range of professions. It’s universal, no abnormality, nor linked to a mental health issue.” 

I’ve known about Imposter Syndrome for years. I’ve talked about it fairly frequently. In fact, it’s something that I’ve actively challenged, and raised awareness about with my mentees and team members.

The topic keeps coming up during networking and workshop events, during 1-on-1s, whether I’m in the role of friend, mentor, coach, or advisor. However, it also shows up for me – most recently when surrounded by amazing, inspiring coaches, and entrepreneurs.

So, after some coaching conversations and personal reflection, I’d like to share a few steps that I know have been beneficial to myself, and others, in overcoming Imposter Syndrome – one step at a time to thrive and shine.

Demystify concerns. Openly talk about your thoughts and feelings.

Check in with someone you trust. This could be a friend, your manager, a mentor, or a coach. But keep it to a short debrief; analytical, not a lot of dwelling, and with a view to the future.

Reflect on reasons for being at this stage in your life. What has brought you this far?

See it as a learning opportunity.

Reflect on how this is ‘in tune’ with what you value and what you stand for.

Validate the truth.

Over time, we may have developed our own “truths” that we believe to be genuine. But…

  • Are these beliefs based on facts?

  • What does real life feedback from a report, or from your peers, family, friends, or your manager tell you?

  • What if your belief is indeed just a thought, and not actually a fact?

How do you want to show up?

Look towards the future and how you want to live authentically. Ask yourself:

  • What is important to you?

  • What is important about these important things.

  • How do these influence the way you show up right now?

Move on with actionable steps.

In order to show up fully, live a more fulfilled life, and go for what you truly want, you need to take action. Think about:

  • What price will you pay if you do not say/ do anything?

  • What does it actually cost if you do say/ do something?

  • What can you do to be more in alignment with how you want to show up?

  • What feels true to you – even if it’s a bit scary?

Then, identify steps (even if they are tiny) that will help you going forward.

This could be as simple as listing the accomplishments, values, and skills you’re proud of. You could keep them to yourself or share them by updating your LinkedIn profile.

Another option could be to set intentions for the day. Write down or speak out loud how you’d like to show up that day.

Daily affirmations are very powerful tools too. While the most impactful affirmations are ones that feel truest to you, here are some examples:

  • “I am enough.”

  • “I am courageous.”

  • “I am resourceful.”

Remember, Imposter Syndrome is very common. We take away its strength by talking about it. So, please feel free to share this blog, and share your experiences with Imposter Syndrome by commenting below.

P.S. A previous version of this blog has been published on LinkedIn in 2018.

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