Impostor Syndrome: Is Your Success Only on the Outside?

Have you ever felt like a phony?  Like, if “they” found you out, they’d realize that you aren’t as awesome as they thought you were?

“Impostor syndrome” is a common issue.

Impostor syndrome is where you can’t internalize your success, and no amount of external validation or evidence helps convince you otherwise.  So you work harder and harder to prove your success, but yet you still don’t quite measure up.

I’ve mentored a lot of people, and found that a lot of highly successful people actually have impostor syndrome, for one reason or another.  For some, it’s because they feel they are in the fake stage of “fake it until you make it.”  For others, it’s because their success doesn’t match their mental model of how it’s supposed to happen.  For example, success came too quickly, or they feel they got a “lucky break.”   For others, they don’t feel they match what a successful person is supposed to look like, or they don’t have the credentials they think they are supposed to have, or the specific experience they are supposed to have went under their belt.

So, it’s success on the outside, but no success on the inside.

And that leads to all sorts of issues, whether it’s a lack of confidence, or self-sabotage, or working harder and harder to validate their external success.

Not good.

Luckily, there are proven practices for dealing with impostor syndrome.  

I have the privilege of a guest post by Joyce Roche, author of The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success:

7 Ways to Conquer Impostor Syndrome – Lessons from Successful Business Leaders

It’s a simple set of coping strategies you can use to defeat impostor syndrome and find more fulfillment.


You Might Also Like

Anatomy of a High-Potential

The Guerilla Guide to Getting a Better Performance Review at Microsoft

The Book that Changes Lives

Comments (1)

  1. Dragan Radovac says:

    J.D Meier, you must be a great manager to work for. I hope one day I can experience the skills of someone like you. Great post !

Skip to main content