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Believe in Yourself:

You are Capable of Great Things

· Leadership,Wellbeing

Have you ever felt like a total fraud at work, just waiting for the moment when someone finally "exposes" you? That gut-wrenching sensation that you don’t deserve your achievements and that your success is just a fluke? Welcome to the world of Imposter Syndrome—a sneaky, universal experience affecting professionals across all industries. But here’s the thing: you’re definitely not alone, and you can conquer it!

How Imposter Syndrome Shows Up:

  • Self-Doubt: Constantly questioning your abilities and decisions.
  • Undervaluing Achievements: Attributing your success to external factors or luck rather than your own efforts.
  • Fear of Exposure: Anxiety that colleagues or supervisors will discover you’re "not as competent" as they believe.
  • Overworking: Putting in excessive effort to prove your worth, often leading to burnout.
  • Avoiding Opportunities: Hesitating to take on new challenges or responsibilities due to fear of failure.
  • Why It’s Important to Manage These Feelings:
  • Career Growth: Feeling like a fraud can hold you back from pursuing new opportunities, promotions, and challenges that are essential for career advancement.
  • Mental Health: Persistent self-doubt and fear can lead to anxiety, stress, and burnout, affecting both your professional and personal life.
  • Work Relationships: It can create distance between you and your colleagues, as you may avoid collaboration or speaking up in meetings due to fear of being "exposed."
  • Productivity: The constant battle with self-doubt can sap your energy and focus, making it harder to perform at your best.
  • Client Stories: Overcoming the Feeling of Fraud
  • 1. Ericka’s Journey to Leadership

Ericka, an Editor-in-Chief at a national news organization, struggled with Imposter Syndrome for years. Despite her impressive resume and significant achievements, she constantly doubted her abilities. Ericka believed her success was due to luck or that she had somehow tricked others into thinking she was competent. This self-doubt held her back in meetings and leadership roles, making her hesitant to speak up and share her valuable insights.


  • Self-doubt and undervaluing her contributions.
  • Fear of being exposed as a fraud.
  • Avoidance of leadership opportunities.
  • Solution: To help Ericka overcome these feelings, we focused on setting specific, achievable goals. For instance, before meetings, she aimed to provide two value-add statements and ask one clarifying question. These baby steps allowed her to focus on progress and manage her negative self-talk without feeling overwhelmed. Over time, Ericka gained confidence and began showing up as the leader she wanted to be.
  • 2. Mark’s Path to Professional Confidence

Mark, a senior executive at a leading entertainment company, often felt like an imposter despite his high-ranking position. He feared that others would discover he wasn’t as knowledgeable or capable as they thought. This fear led him to overwork and avoid taking on new projects, which stunted his professional growth.


  • Overworking to prove his worth.
  • Avoidance of new projects due to fear of failure.
  • Persistent anxiety about being "exposed."

Solution: Mark’s strategy involved recognizing and celebrating his achievements. By keeping a record of his successes and the skills that led to them, Mark began to shift his mindset. Additionally, he practiced positive self-talk and sought constructive feedback from trusted colleagues. This helped him gain a more accurate self-assessment and reduced his anxiety about being "found out."

  • 3. Sarah’s Return to Work

Sarah, who returned to the professional world after a break to raise her children, felt like she had to start from scratch. She doubted her abilities and feared that her skills were outdated. This led to a lack of confidence in her role, making her hesitant to take on new responsibilities.

  • Challenges:
  • Self-doubt about her skills and knowledge.
  • Fear of being viewed as incompetent due to her career break.
  • Hesitation to take on new responsibilities.

Solution: For Sarah, the focus was on updating her skills and setting realistic, manageable goals. By taking professional development courses and gradually taking on more responsibilities, Sarah rebuilt her confidence. She also engaged in positive self-talk and sought feedback from her supervisors, which helped her see her true value and capabilities.

Combatting the Fraud Feeling

Here are some strategies to help you manage and overcome the feeling of being a fraud:

  • Acknowledge Your Achievements: Keep a record of your successes and remind yourself of the skills and efforts that led to them.
  • Seek Feedback: Constructive feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors can help you gain a more accurate self-assessment.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Break down larger tasks into manageable steps to build confidence and demonstrate progress.
  • Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative thoughts with affirmations of your capabilities and achievements.
  • Professional Support: Consider seeking help from a coach or therapist to develop strategies to manage Imposter Syndrome.

Addressing these feelings is a vital step towards a healthier, more fulfilling professional life. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and with the right strategies, you can overcome Imposter Syndrome and thrive in your career.

  • Phyllis Reagin, Founder and Executive Coach with At the Coach's Table, has coached trailblazers from top Entertainment/Media companies including ABC, Amazon MGM Studios, CBSViacom, Google, Meta, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Global, Sony Pictures, Spotify, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Music, and more.
  • Want strategies for improving your Imposter Syndrome? Buy our Goodbye Imposter Syndrome course here. Learn a method that will break you free from Imposter Syndrome!
  • Work with Executive Coach Phyllis Reagin for individualized special coaching focused on guiding you out of Imposter Syndrome. Sign up for a 30-minute consultation here.