If You Feel Like a Fraud, Imposter Syndrome is Keeping You From Success

Imposter Syndrome

The Imposter Syndrome may be the very thing that is standing between you and success.

Success begins within. But what if you feel like a fake and struggle with imposter syndrome? Then you’re convinced that everything you achieve is something you don’t deserve.

Well, you are not alone. About 70% of the world’s population believes they are a fake. Even highly successful people continue to secretly dread they will be confronted as an imposter.

“People who have reportedly experienced the syndrome include Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, screenwriter Chuck Lorre, best-selling writer Neil Gaiman, best-selling writer John Green, comedian Tommy Cooper, business leader Sheryl Sandberg, US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, actress Emma Watson, and entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes.”

Entrepreneurs depend on their self-reliance. However, concerns that you will be discovered can interfere. And if you’re a high achiever, then you are prone to self-doubt.

Let’s agree, you work hard in your business. But feelings of being a fake keep you from going big. So you sabotage your success.

The Imposter Syndrome may be the very thing that is standing between you and success.

The Imposter Syndrome may be the very thing that is standing between you and success. Click To Tweet

What is Imposter Syndrome?

This feeling of being a fake was first termed Imposter Syndrome in 1978 by a team of psychologists. They recognized how successful people were unable to own their achievements. Although they were highly regarded by their peers, they continued to worry that they would be exposed as a fraud.

The Signs of Feeling Fake

Imposter Syndrome occurs in different ways. Check out the five most common experiences. Which is true for you?


Do you wait… and wait… until each job is perfect, fiddling with minor details to get them exactly right? Do you keep double and triple checking what you have to offer before you tell the world?

Almost perfect is not good enough for perfectionists. The all-or-nothing attitude keeps you from getting your work out in a timely manner. How has this affected you?

Here’s the hard truth. Rather than learning from the experience, perfectionists tend to set a goal and consider anything less than achieving the goal as a failure. Perfectionists are very critical, of themselves as well as others. As you may expect, this leads to trust issues.


Because people with Imposter Syndrome do not recognize achievements, they often work long and unnecessary hours burning the midnight oil and eating up weekends. This helps to compensate for that feeling of being a fake.

If you find yourself frequently late at night doing that “one more thing,” it’s a sure sign that you are overworking. Click To Tweet

If you find yourself frequently late at night doing “one more thing,” it’s a sure sign that you are overworking.

Undermine Achievements

From ignoring how your business continues to grow to canceling a meeting with an important client, Imposter Syndrome keeps you from acknowledging your accomplishments.

Don’t continue to dismiss milestones because they failed to meet your high expectations. Realize that small incremental successes add up over time.  You’re actually accomplishing a lot more than you give yourself credit for.

Even worse, thinking that someone may not want your product or service before you meet with them is another way entrepreneurs can self-sabotage what could be a profitable interchange.

Fear of Failure

You decide not to try something new because it may not work. Exploring opportunities that could advance your business feels risky. Instead, you continue to stick with what you know.

How often do you set a goal and then not follow through? The thought of failing outweighed the possibilities. Your sense of perfectionism shows up more frequently than you care to admit. And it prevents you from starting new projects. Eventually you need to stop planning and start implementing.

Discounting Praise

Accepting compliments or recognition is an ongoing issue. There’s a part of you which doesn’t believe you deserve them so you dismiss all sorts of praise.

Instead of saying thank you, you minimize the work you’ve done. People who feel as though they are a fake can’t acknowledge their achievements. Accepting sincere praise for work well done continues to be a struggle.

First Steps to Feeling Real

feel like a fake

There are a number of actions you can take to overcome the fraud factor.

Fortunately, you can overcome the fraud factor. Follow these steps to shift your thinking from dismissing your worthiness to owning your achievements.

  1. Awareness. Get started by recognizing when your thoughts and feelings appear. Keep a log to track the instances. This creates mindfulness.
  2. Accomplishments. Keep your awards, achievements and testimonials in a folder. Include all of them, big and small. Then each time you start to feel like a fake, look in your accomplishments folder.
  3. Avoid comparison. Stop comparing yourself to your competitors or your role model. It’s toxic. Your success path is your own. If you want to make comparisons, review how much you have grown since you started your business.
  4. Admit mistakes. Making mistakes, or being wrong, doesn’t mean you are a fraud. Everyone makes wrong choices and bad decisions. Go ahead and admit you were wrong. Then, use that insight to create better solutions.
  5. Attitude. Value your business activities. Criticizing and complaining about yourself or others doesn’t do much good if you stop there and don’t do anything about it. Figure out the steps to turn things around. Then do something to advance your business.

Critical thoughts don’t magically disappear overnight. So here’s my challenge to you. Pair each negative statement with a positive one. If you’re going to be self critical, then include an equal number of statements acknowledging where you did something well.

This will be a stretch for you in the beginning. It’s okay to start with small acknowledgments. This practice will train your brain to notice the good things too.

As you create a history of positive actions, your mental attitude begins to shift. Over time you’ll discover that you have fewer and fewer feelings of being a fraud. Your brilliance and gifts will emerge.

Remove the Mask

Because Imposter Syndrome can show up in so many ways, it is challenging to pinpoint exactly how it affects your business. That’s where Business Success Solution can help. As a therapist turned business coach, I work with you to get out of your own way and achieve the success you deserve. Together we work to remove the obstacles and develop a specific action plan for you and your business to prosper.

Get out of your own way and achieve the success you deserve. Click To Tweet

As you overcome the challenges, you discover that you’re now stepping up where you used to hold back. Entrepreneurs gain success from the inside out. You will discover the more positive steps you take to overcome your feeling of fraud, the more success you’ll experience.

It’s time to finally free yourself from the imposter syndrome. Follow these recommendations for your business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.