When success makes you feel like a fake

Have you ever looked at your accomplishments and just shrugged them off thinking, “I was just doing my job, that’s what they pay me for” OR perhaps you don’t take notice of your big or small wins? If so, you may be experiencing what psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, call Impostor Syndrome.

Back in 1978, they gave Impostor Syndrome its name when they continued to see this phenomenon show up where accomplished people had an inability to accept success. Rather, they had anxiety about achievement, dread of evaluation, fear of failure and exposure, as well as lack of joy in accomplishment.

Impostor Syndrome is more common than you think. Sometimes it shows up in the form of deflecting your success or believe it was a fluke, stroke of luck, or pure timing. Feeling like an impostor is fine if you are a secret agent 007-style or swindling people, but for people who are doing their best, trying to make the world a bit more beautiful, Impostor Syndrome can stand between you and your bigger goals.

Allowing Imposter Syndrome to exist in you not only prevents deeper fulfillment and personal success, but it drags down the rest of us too! Researchers have found that the syndrome is rampant in the C-level suite (CEO, COO, etc), especially among high-achieving women. This holds back the success of the entire company. Even in your personal life, does fear of failure cripple you in your care-giving roles? Relationships?

So, you may be wondering “How do I know if that’s my schtick?” Here’s how:

When you hear a voice saying:
Who do you think you are?
Who are you to write a book?
Who are you to start your own business?
Who gave you permission to do that?

That’s the Impostor Syndrome begging to take the lead. Trust me, it shows up intensely when you are stretching yourself, going out on the skinny branches, beyond your comfort zone toward something you truly want. It tells you, “you aren’t smart; everyone else on Instagram has more followers than you; you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Does any of this hit home? If so, worry not, because you are in great company, with the likes of Tom Hanks, Maya Angelou, Emma Watson, Sonia Sotomayor, Jodie Foster, Seth Godin, Dr. Margaret Chan, and even Albert Einstein. All are known to have experienced this phenomenon.

Some people try to counter act the thoughts brought on by Impostor Syndrome with mantras such as “no pain, no gain” or one of my favorites to hate is, “fake it ‘till you make it”. Just a note here – you’re not faking anything – you’re being yourself, your unique, unlike-any-other-in-existence, Self.

These mantras can only take you so far, and like the “fake it” one, can steer you down the wrong path, training your brain to think of yourself in a less than a flattering light.

  1. The 1st step to banishing I.S. is to be aware of it. Call. It. Out. When you bring mindfulness into your day-to-day life you are able to be more present when I.S. rears its ugly head. Simply acknowledging that’s what’s going on will help your mind relax and stop searching for impending doom.
  2. Chat with a friend or loved one. Surround yourself with a community of people who support you. When you share your experience and thoughts you will get a different perspective that allows you to look at your accomplishments from a different angle. Notice I said people who support you.
  3. Remind yourself that you are always doing your best. Even if you have to write it on your bathroom mirror!
  4. Meditation. Get to know the REAL you WITHIN. That way when the impostor-themed thoughts come around, you can easily let them pass without getting hooked.
  5. Track your daily wins and accomplishments: securing a new client, negotiating a big meeting, showing up to write, finishing (or even starting) that big project. When you see yourself choosing to win, you actually are reaffirming your commitment to you and your goal. You are admitting you are success.
  6. Journal. Getting in touch with your own thoughts is always a good idea and sometimes seeing them in black and white brings a new level of awareness. It’s a great way to mine insight on the issue you’re facing down I.S in.
  7. Success habits. Make a list of three to five small things for you to do daily/weekly to take care of you, such as meditating, working out, spending time in nature, massage, etc. Any habit that feels good to you and you feel is expanding you. Then see how often you stick to it. This will let you know if your tank is getting low on fuel which will make you more susceptible to I.S.
  8. Make a list of your top three desires…The manifestations you’ve been wanting. After boiling it down to your top three, look and see how any of your success habits connect with any of those desires. If one of your top desires is Health, then your success habits of going to the gym is connected to it. You see how little steps build into major manifestations?
  9. Remember you are not alone!!

The most important thing I can tell you is when you are bit by the Impostor Syndrome bug, take a breath and remember it’s just a thought – even if it’s one you’ve trained yourself into thinking for 30 years or more, it doesn’t matter.

Thoughts can be redirected. When you take a breath in that moment, you’ve done it: you’ve slowed down the momentum of the impostor and stepped closer into the connection with your authentic Self. You, that captivating self, the perfect attribute of Source. And like magic it has disappeared.


If you have any questions about Impostor Syndrome please feel free to reach out to us here at

Until next time…

Law of Attraction

P.S. For those who want to know a little more, here are a couple of articles & videos that you may find interesting:
Do You Have Imposter Syndrome by Jazmine Hughes
How to Banish Imposter Syndrome and Embrace Everything you Deserve by Ximena Vengoechea
9 Telltale Signs You Have Imposter Syndrome by Melody Wilding