10 facts and 10 remedies to heal imposter syndrome

The Imposter Syndrome is all about self doubt, self worth and feeling like a fraud. It is fuelled by our the inflated worth of others, and the lack of any of that worth for our own successes. It is like a confidence kill switch. Impostor Syndrome can be linked to other areas of self-doubt, such as fear of success, failure or self sabotage. But it’s not simply about poor self-confidence or excessive humility. It involves a constant fear of exposure, isolation and rejection.

It is not uncommon for people to feel like an imposter in their own skin sometimes. Think of your greatest life achievements. Do you really feel proud of what you’ve accomplished? Or do you sometimes feel kind of like a fraud? Like you didn’t really deserve what you have accomplished. Worse still may be when we consider how many opportunities we may have lost as a result of feeling inadequate and less than perfect. 

Think about it. Does each raise, promotion or achievement bring joy? Or is it accompanied by feelings of dread that, one day, your cover will be blown, and everyone will find out that you just got lucky? Do you possibly show less of who you really are on social media? Do you hide who you really are and why is that?

Many of us become unworthy of our success, we practice self doubt so much that we don’t even know we are doing it and then we minimise our achievements through a feeling of phoniness. Feeling less than others for some reason. Just know this, if you experience feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, you may be surprised to learn that you are in great company. Impostor Syndrome is typically associated with high achievers. So, if you feel like a fraud, the chances are that you’re more capable than you think. Real frauds after all don’t worry about things like limiting their possibilities.

You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside. Dr. Wayne W Dyer

Growing up we feel like we are not good enough and may not even feel we deserve success because you are not as creative, fast, intelligent or noticed as others may be. Society is quick to tell us that and “Who do you think you are”, or “What gives you the right?” when you step out of line, firmly implants the seeds for imposter syndrome. Thankfully a drove of famous people and stars like Tom, Hanks, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet and dozens of sports men and women have all brought the issues of imposter syndrome into the spotlight so we can learn from it and stop it in its tracks. Look at these words from Rudyard Kipling who wrote about the imposter so eloquently in the 1900’s. The full poem entitled ‘IF’ is at the end of the post. Just incredible how he describes what we are detailing here with such profound everyday examples of how we need to think twice about who we are and what we stand for if we are to free ourselves from the self sabotage that comes from wading through the hard knocks of life and feeling we’re not hacking it well enough.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same…

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Imposter syndrome is in our relationships, in our careers, and we may not even know why we end up getting a raw deal time and time again. Self sabotaging because of feelings of inadequacy can ruin the opportunities life brings you and you may be none the wiser! 

The Imposter Syndrome

Five common traits of Imposter Syndrome, also known as Impostorism, Impostor Phenomenon and Fraud Syndrome that we can look out for are being the The Perfectionist who sees success as an all or nothing issue, or the natural genius that is good at things across the board but who never quite excels at just one thing. You could develop traits of the Individualist who does life on their own or the expert who can never bear to be wrong, and then finally we could become the superhero that is always pushing to the limit, driven by strong and engrained feelings of inadequacy. Impostor Syndrome often strikes at moments of success: starting a new job, receiving an award or promotion, or taking on extra responsibility such as teaching others, starting your own business, or becoming a first-time parent. Who hasn’t felt like a fraud in an interview! We must understand that up to 70% of people suffer the syndrome at one stage of their lives or another. 

The Imposter Syndrome is all about feelings of self doubt, self worth and feeling like a fraud which then acts as our confidence kill switch

Mark L Lockwood

The Imposter Syndrome Checklist

Here is the The Self doubt checklist for those who feel they may suffer imposter syndrome:

  1. Do you often feel self doubt and inadequacy?
  2. Are you a perfectionist?
  3. Do you fear what people think or say about you all the time?
  4. Are you a procrastinator?
  5. Is your internal dialogue plagued with “ I don’t really deserve it anyway?”
  6. Do you set unreasonably high goals?
  7. When you don’t succeed at first do you bathe in shame and guilt?
  8. Do you focus on failures or achievements more in your life? 
  9. Do you people-please?
  10. Have you denied your own success and have your parents, partners or siblings done the same thing with your success? After all, we teach people how to treat us. 

“We must take the lamp of self doubt out from under the table and place it where it can shine in the darkness so to speak…life is too short for us not be be authentic and true to ourselves”

Mark L Lockwood

1o ways to overcome the Imposter Syndrome

Here are 10 ways to easily overcome Imposter Syndrome that you can use daily as you first develop awareness, then accept who you really are and then take new action from that standpoint for yourself:

1. How many opportunities may you have already lost? It is now time for change and growth that will start with personal accountability and responsibility

2. Own your success as your new mission statement. Never down play your achievements and always celebrate the small victories. 

3. V. Edmund said “Never doubt in the dark, what God told you in the Light” and what he means by that is that you need to keep the truth of who you really are at your core, even when you make mistakes. To err is human! 

4. Remember that we are all the same and self doubt thoughts are natural, don’t cling to them. The only limits you have are the ones you believe.

5. Dont listen to the Naysayers. They are everywhere and what they say is none of your business as an adult. 

6. Drop the perfectionism. It won’t serve you and is negative motivation.  

7. Change your inner dialogue with affirmations when you catch yourself doubting your true potential and value. 

8. Understand your core values and make them your intentions by writing them out and laminating them and keeping them with you wherever you go. 

9. Confidence is cultivated. Like any skill you can hone it and master it over time. Be patient and kind to yourself. Be satisfied with your efforts, we are always doing the best we can. 

10. Think outside the box at least once a month – use contemplative intelligence by dropping your entire story and going outside of the paradigm you have created for yourself. Take an hour and use pen and paper to think big and drop the walls we create for ourselves. Your abilities are scientifically speaking far, far more potent than you think they are. Practice progress rather than perfection in everything you do.


If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling, IF.


Published by Mark L Lockwood

Mark L Lockwood (BA)(Hons)(psy) teaches spiritual transformation and is the founder of Contemplative Intelligence. Author of The Power of Contemplative Intelligence, Autotherapy and Recovery Magic. Our work is about the science of finding your spiritual self.

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