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Recently I was asked, after presenting to a room full of extremely successful people, how do you handle Imposter Syndrome?

What a great question!

I remember the first time I experienced Imposter Syndrome.

It was in an ‘oral practical’ exam in my finals as a medical student.

Imagine this… in a room, moving around to different tables of examiners, not knowing what you’re going to be asked to demonstrate or talk about. A bit like speed dating but very different!

I still remember the exact moment when I thought: “What if they find out that I don’t really know this. I’m not really good enough to be a doctor!” (Or something to that effect).

Most of us perceive Imposter Syndrome as a negative, debilitating force. A really serious SYNDROME to be fought against and overcome.

It’s that persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud,” despite clear evidence of our competence and achievements.

Many high achievers—leaders, executives, and professionals—struggle with this syndrome, feeling they don’t deserve their success.

What Research Has Shown

Research indicates that nearly 70% of people will experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their careers. It affects individuals regardless of their career stage or level of success. Interestingly, studies also suggest that this phenomenon often accompanies high achievement and ambition.

But what if we could see Imposter Syndrome differently?

Maybe Imposter Syndrome is NORMAL?!

Maybe Imposter Syndrome is a sign that we’re exactly where we need to be, and definitely on the right track?

Maybe Imposter Syndrome shows you have:

A Growth Mindset

Feeling like an imposter often means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s a signal of your willingness to take on new challenges.

It indicates that you’re learning and evolving.

Humility and Self-Reflection

Imposter Syndrome can keep us grounded and humble. It reminds us that there’s always more to learn and that we shouldn’t take our successes for granted. This can motivate us to seek feedback, keep improving, and remain open to new ideas and perspectives.

Empathy and Connection

Recognising this syndrome in ourselves can increase our empathy and connection with others experiencing the same doubts. Linked with vulnerability, when we share our experiences, we break the sense of isolation that often accompanies these feelings.

Drive and Motivation

The fear of being “found out” can actually push us to keep going, to work harder and achieve more. It can serve as a powerful motivator for many of us to prepare thoroughly, develop our skills, and strive for excellence. So, rather than paralysing us, it can propel us to greater achievements.

Authenticity and Courage

Acknowledging our imposter feelings requires inner courage and authenticity. It means being honest about our insecurities and recognising that everyone has moments of self-doubt. This can reassure and inspire others.

So, think about the flip side of what ‘everybody says’ and that Imposter Syndrome has to managed or overcome. Imagine Imposter Syndrome is a normal part of personal and professional growth.

In a sense, you are an imposter if you are growing and doing something different. Being someone different. You’ve never been there before. And now you have. So you’re no longer an Imposter.

Instead of letting it hold you back, celebrate that you have stepped out of your comfort zone, you have evolved and grown into a new future phenomenal self!

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