Impostor Syndrome: How To Overcome Feeling Unworthy Of Success

Impostor Syndrome. You may be struggling with this phenomenon and not even know that is has a name and is totally real and valid.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.

At it's core, impostor syndrome is that feeling you get before you take the next step in your business. The fear that people will soon figure out " just how unqualified you are", or that " you are charging too much", or that you're "unworthy of making more."

The first step to overcoming these feeling is accepting that they are there, and then realizing that you're not alone. Even some of the most famous, inspiring, bad ass babes suffer from IS.

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.” – Tina Fey

“I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented.  I’m really not very good.  It’s all been a big sham.” – Michelle Pfeifer

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this.  I’m a fraud.” – Kate Winslett

“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.” – Maya Angelou

It's okay to feel this way, but let's work together on some ways that have been proven to overcome these nasty feelings and increase your confidence in yourself and you're work!

  1. Accept that you have come this far, with much onus on yourself. We often have this feeling of being unable to own our own success because we can't always reflect on how hard we worked to get there. Take time to realize and accept that small and large milestones you've completed. Additionally, we often feel like we were given some miraculous opportunity that others weren't. It was just the luck of the draw, right? WRONG. While it's true that some are afforded circumstances that may allow them the chance to use better resources such as money, it's what you do with it that makes or breaks a successful babe. There are plenty of people born with a trust fund that still fuck it up.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Right now. I love the quote, "Don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20." Yes, I'm sure that photographer who has been traveling the world all year and living her dream is total #lifegoals , but chances are she also busted her ass for years to get to that point. Learn to trust your own experience, it's all you've got. Just because you didn't jump out the gate making 6 figures a year and landing Pinterest worthy gigs doesn't mean that you should just give up. WORK HARD AND DREAM BIG!
  3. Always remember: Being wrong, doesn't mean you are being fake. We often have trials and errors in the glorious world of entrepreneurship. If you do something "wrong", learn from it and improve. It doesn't mean that it just "not right for you".
  4. Realize that holding back your gift is robbing the world of your full potential. You have so much to offer this world. Seriously. I mean that more than you will ever know. Your doubt in yourself will only hide the best parts of you, and will never allow us to see it. We want to experience all you've got, don't hide it.
  5. Take action. Impostor Syndrome lives in abstraction. It is impossible for it to survive when you’re taking action. Taking action proves that you’re not a fraud. It tests your mettle in the real world.Impostor Syndrome cannot do damage to the person who consistently takes action. (You still might feel it every once in a while, but you won’t let it stop you.)
  6. Find a community.  Find someone, or a group of someones, who you can say "I feel like a fraud" to. Let them talk through it with you and encourage you, the way that only the best communities can. Come join us on Facebook! We'd love to have you!
  7. Faking things actually does work. Sometimes faking it doesn’t make you a fraud. If you smile, your body will be more generous with the happy chemicals and actually make you happier. Neuroplasticity means that you can shape your brain by pretending.When you were a baby you tried to walk and fell down every time. Were you a walking impostor? Who are you to walk!? You can’t even do it! It’s absurd!Silicon Valley has been built by people trying to do things that probably weren’t going to work. We need them to keep trying. We need you to keep trying. We need you. Whether you feel like an impostor or not.


You've got this babe. Work through these feelings and emotions, and then shake them off. Regain your confidence and don't allow the fear of who you are to stop you from achieving greatness.


Cheers, babe!