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  • Rachel Brislane

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

And 3 Ways To Manage It.

Imposter Syndrome (also referred to as Imposter Phenomenon) is experienced by many. It is characterised by pervasive self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy or feeling like a fraud at work internally doubting your capability and competence despite externally appearing capable, competent, and successful.

It is also often linked with perfectionism and can lead to behaviours such as procrastination, people pleasing or indecisiveness due to a fear of falling below a certain standard or fear of not getting it ‘right’. Any failures, mistakes or criticism is swiftly personalised and reinforces the underlying sense of not being ‘good enough’. It can lead to avoidance of pursuing opportunities or promotion due to the perceived risk of failure, stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.

What are the signs?

If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome you may: -

  • Feel like a fraud.

  • Never feel good enough.

  • Constantly doubt yourself and your abilities.

  • Feel like you don’t belong.

  • Feel uncomfortable or undeserving when receiving praise.

  • Focus on your weaknesses or where you think you are lacking.

  • Discount your accomplishments putting them down to luck.

So, what can be done to help manage the impact of Imposter Syndrome?

#1 - Get to know your negative self-talk.

By increasing your awareness to become aware of your negative self-talk you can learn to notice, step back from and challenge the automatic thoughts / stories you tell yourself which are contributing to your imposter feelings. Mindfulness exercises are great for increasing awareness of your thoughts which impact your feelings and actions. Next time you notice yourself having a thought such as “I’m not good enough to be a lawyer” or telling yourself the "I don't belong here" story, evaluate and challenge those thoughts. Is it merely a thought or a fact? What evidence is there to support that you are deserving of your role? Reflect upon your qualifications, experience, strengths, and achievements to date.

#2 - Celebrate your achievements

Those experiencing Imposter Syndrome tend to focus on the negatives or areas where they perceive themselves to be lacking and discount the positives. It is therefore important to take time to celebrate your accomplishments and successes, no matter how small. If someone gives you positive feedback or praise, accept the compliment and allow yourself the time to appreciate it rather than quickly brushing it off and continuing with the next task. You can even try creating a ‘positive feedback folder’ for yourself where you can store positive feedback, reviews, and other accomplishments to look back at to boost your confidence in moments of self-doubt.

#3 - Let go of perfectionism

Let go of perfectionism and embrace ‘good enough-ism’. Reframe any failures or mistakes as opportunities for learning and development. Be kind to yourself and embrace being the imperfect human being that you are!

If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome and would like to find out more about how I can help you, then please get in touch to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.


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