Imposter Syndrome| Phenomenal Women Have Insecurities Too

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think uh oh, they’re going to find out
now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”

What you have just read are words that are laced with self-doubt. These words came out of the mouth of a woman who was greatness personified. This very woman was the
first Black Woman to write a screen play for a major film release and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. This woman has won 21 honorary awards from a number a different colleges.

She is Dr. Maya Angelou, the woman who made – and continues to make – women all around the world acknowledge the Phenomenal Woman that lives within them. She was greatness personified and yet felt like a phony, despite her impact and her many
well-deserved accolades. She had the Imposter Syndrome, something that is common
in many people.

So, What Is This Imposter Syndrome?

According to, this term was first used in the 1970s by psychologists
Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose.

To put it simply, IS is that belief that you harbour that you are a fraud. As the word
suggests, you believe that you are an imposter and that you do not belong to be where you are. You believe that it is only by sheer luck that you are there and that at any moment others will notice this and you will be exposed.

A review that was published in 2020 indicates that 9%-82% of people experience IS. This number can, however, vary depending on who participates in the study. This leaves a very high chance that you reading this have the Imposter Syndrome. There are a number of characteristics that indicate you are living with IS.  Do you check some, if not all, of them? Continue reading to find out.

Do You Have The Imposter Syndrome?

You Find It Hard To Internalize Your Success

“People who are victims of the Imposter Syndrome doubt their success time and time again. 

Grace Beverley is a 23 year old Oxford University graduate behind B_ND. Her company makes resistance bands that are vegan-friendly. She began her journey whilst she was a student at Oxford. Grace is also the founder of TALA, an active wear brand. Items under this brand are made of 92% reused materials. Did I mention that her businesses are multi-million pound businesses and that she is only 23? I think it’s safe to assume that you agree with me when I say “WOW!”

Instagram: @wearetala
Instagram: @wearetala
Instagram: @wearetala

When talking to Patricia Bright on the Caught Off Guard podcast, she admitted that whilst at Oxford, she tried to prove that she was good enough to be there. 

She said “No one prepares you for things like the Imposter Syndrome. I think that everyone who’s there doesn’t think they deserve to be there ’cause they think that there’s some ultra-high genius that they’re not.”

In a Forbes interview, she said that she feels “like the Imposter Syndrome never goes and actually increases.”

You Are Full Of Self-Doubt

When speaking to some students at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, Michelle Obama was asked about her feelings on being seen as a symbol of hope and she admitted that she still has some Imposter Syndrome and that for her “it never goes away.” 

She stated that “We all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is.” Do you agree? Speaking for myself, I am going to say “Absolutely.”

Self-doubt is the lack of confidence that you have in yourself and your abilities. This comes with a bunch of disadvantages that you do not need.

You Fear Disappointing The Expectations Set For You

Whenever you are afraid of not living up to your expectations or the expectations that others have placed on you, due to your Imposter Syndrome, you may find yourself in a situation where you believe that you are inadequate. You could even reach a point where you are burning yourself out trying to reach these expectations – or trying not to reach them.

You Avoid Recognition For Your Awesomeness

Imposter Syndrome makes you deny any self-worth that you may have. You deny your value. Therefore, you refuse to find yourself in any situation where your capabilities are recognized and acknowledged. For example, if you are an employee somewhere, you shy away from any promotion coming your way because you don’t feel you deserve it.

In her interview with Vogue, Emma Watson admitted that when she receives recognition for her acting, she feels “incredibly uncomfortable.” She said that she feels like an imposter. This is coming from someone who has won 24 awards and has a total of 71 nominations!

You Sabotage Yourself

Self-sabotage occurs when you prevent yourself from doing what you really want to do or achieving what you want to achieve. This could be through your thoughts or your actions. You set obstacles up for yourself that ultimately keep you from progressing. Maybe you’ve tried to change this about yourself  because you realize how damaging this is but you just cant seem to stop the cycle. 

For example, studying for that test that you really need to pass just a day before you write despite having told yourself that you were going to study for it in advance. 

I know there is probably someone reading this who has always wanted to start a business or a side hustle, or whatever the case may be, but you keep coming up with reasons why you shouldn’t. Are you that person?

For me, the verdict for both of these situations is: GUILTY!

How To Be The Boss Of Your Imposter Syndrome?

Identify Where It Is All Coming From

We all have our baggage to carry around. But where is it all coming from? You need to ask yourself this question. Be it that someone convinced you that you are nothing or that you went through something traumatic at some point in your life, and now you carry these lies with you everywhere you go – as if there is no better truth spoken about you. You need to search yourself until you find the root causes of your IS so that you can begin to face these dark areas of your life and begin to challenge them.

Talk About it

I believe that when you are silent about your IS, you give it power to continue eating you up inside and destroy you.

Reach out to those you trust. You’ll be surprised how many people, in your circle alone, are plagued with IS. Talk to them and you’ll see how questionable your fears are. This is not to dismiss these fears, but you will realize how awesome and worthy people think you are.

Viola Davis, an embodiment of black excellence, said: “When I was younger I did not exert my voice because I did not feel worthy of having a voice.” She told Vanity Fair that did not find her worth on her own. Those who believed in her worthiness elevated her out of that dark space.

Have Your Affirmations Ready

I am worthy

I deserve to be here

I am a conqueror

I am wonderfully and fearfully made

Affirmations can help you distance yourself from your feelings of unworthiness whenever they try to attack you. Each time you feel them trying to take over, get your affirmations and speak them over your life. This is far better than convincing yourself that you are empty and not worth the trouble.

Treat Yourself For Your Achievements

I am going to bet my daily dose of water that at some point you have achieved something in your life – whether you acknowledge this or not. I hope you acknowledge this because this is a big bet I’m making!

Normalize celebrating your triumphs no matter how small you think they may be. You need to own your success. You worked for it and it is yours.

Position Your Mind For Growth

Be ready to accept that fact that the person you were in the past is not the person you are today. The negative experiences and comments in you past are empty. Release this negative energy from your body, your soul and your mind to make space for all the good stuff to finally own that space.

What To Take Away From This

–The Imposter Syndrome will destroy you if you let it

–You are not alone

–Acknowledge your Imposter Syndrome to beat it

–Talk about it

–Let’s be real: You are good enough

Conquering your Imposter Syndrome is a long-term goal. Be patient with yourself. You are a greater person than you think you are. Go start that business. Go for that long over-due jog. Chase that life you want to live because you have it in you!


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