How to break free from Imposter Syndrome and stop playing small


“I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out.” 

Raise your hand if at some point in growing your business a version of that thought has flashed through your mind, causing momentary panic or paralysis. 

Recent statistics estimate more than 70% of us would raise our hand, including many successful celebrities we admire, so the good news is you’re not alone- you’re actually quite normal!

But that doesn’t mean Imposter Syndrome, as it’s been named, doesn’t still have the power to stop you in your tracks and keep you stuck or prevent you from moving forward towards your goals. 

The dirty truth about Imposter Syndrome creating doubts about our abilities and our worth is it keeps us playing small out of fear. And that’s the real tragedy in those statistics. 

So how do you move beyond those negative thoughts and fears about your abilities and merits? Here are 4 strategies to implement alone or in combination to move through and beyond Imposter Syndrome and keep chasing your dreams.

Call it out

Get the thoughts swirling around in there out of your head. Write them down, in all their awful detail, or confess to a coach or friend. What usually happens is once you see them on paper or say them out loud you can see how silly or overblown they are. They instantly lose their power.

Tell the truth

Imposter syndrome is another form of False Evidence Appearing Real. So find the true evidence- what examples can you name where the opposite of your fear was true? If you believe you’re wrong about something, when was a time you were proved right? If you feel like a fraud who can’t help someone, when was a time someone told you that you did make a difference? Anchor yourself if the evidence that counters your fears.

Build a confidence vault

It’s human nature that we will experience doubts and anxiety around our abilities from time to time. So when you get positive feedback or compliments, store these in a file or on slips of paper in a jar that you can dip into in your moments of insecurity and be reminded of your greatness and impact. Compliments, awards, small victories, testimonials… all go along way to reminding yourself who you really are in moments of doubt. 

Shift the spotlight

We feel imposter syndrome most acutely when we are overly focused on ourselves and how we appear. Shift the focus instead onto others, to the service you are committed to providing, to the positive impact you desire to make. You don’t have a big dream to hit some lofty goal just to glorify yourself- I know you don’t. Your WHY is bigger than you, and when you refocus on that purpose and the actions you are taking towards the bigger picture, you remember it’s not about you. And that you don’t have to be perfect to help someone. You just have to care, and that’s a hard thing to fault.

The biggest lesson in dealing with Imposter Syndrome is acknowledging that it will likely happen to you, as it happens to many of us who are trying to share our gifts with the world. But those gifts are exactly the reason you should work to reframe your expectations and your thinking and move through the fears and doubts keeping you small. Face the fears, remember the truth and then keep working on your WHY. 

Have a story about overcoming your own Imposter Syndrome? Please share, I’d love to hear!