Me making a blooper during recording 😄 – Afful Leadership & Business Coaching
Me making a blooper during recording 😄 – Afful Leadership & Business Coaching

How Imposter Syndrome Is Holding You Back (and What to Do About It)

I Never Thought This Would Be Me

Recently I’ve been recording videos for my upcoming online course. I can honestly say, I never thought that would be me in the photo above. This is a screenshot of me in the video right after I made a mistake and had to shoot another take. I am smiling, and actually laughed at myself a few times. Big shout out to my production team! One day I’ll share the bloopers.

A few years ago I would never have done anything like this due to fear and imposter syndrome. I never would have been recording a video in the first place. If I somehow found the confidence to record a video, I would have made such a big deal that I was failing and it wasn’t perfect. To be honest, nothing would have been perfect, I would have picked the video apart.

Now I’m at a place where I’m confident in who I am and can laugh at myself when I make mistakes.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Have you ever felt like a fraud, or that you are not good enough? Perhaps you started a new job and believe you don’t have the experience needed, despite the fact that you were chosen for the role. Or maybe your boss trusted you with an assignment that you feel totally unprepared to lead, despite your successful track record up to this point.

Imposter Syndrome is a recurring emotional experience, like a sense of dread you feel when you second guess yourself over and over again. Research done by Dr. Pauline Clance found that more than 70% of professional women and men have experienced imposter feelings at some point in their career. The irony is that it mostly strikes high-achieving people. People who really are smart and talented and hardworking, who have great creative ideas and contribute a lot to their teams and organisations. It also happens to the people you never would suspect, the ones who seem to have it all together. They’re the ones imposter syndrome is most likely to strike.

If these statements are true for you, you could be experiencing imposter syndrome:

  1. You think that people have an exaggerated view of your abilities.
  2. You’re afraid of being exposed as a fraud.
  3. You have the tendency to downplay your achievements.

Categories of Imposter Syndrome


  • When you make a mistake, do you have trouble letting it go?
  • Are you generally over-prepared for meetings or presentations?


  • Do you feel pressured to work longer and harder than everyone else just to keep up with them?
  • Do you seek out new responsibilities even when your plate is already full?

Natural Genius

  • Do you give up on things that don’t come easily to you?
  • Are you sometimes ashamed to admit how long something took you to learn or complete?


  • Do you constantly look for new training opportunities even though others say you already have the credentials to succeed?
  • Do you procrastinate starting something until you know everything about it?

When I experience imposter syndrome I tend to fall under the perfectionist and expert tendencies.

Which ones do you identify with?

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

If you are experiencing imposter syndrome, firstly know it is not your fault! You can put some measures in place to help you move through it.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others: rather than comparing yourself to other people, use their achievements as inspiration.
  2. Ditch perfectionism: perfection is an unrealistic standard. There’s no need to burn yourself out striving to reach a standard that is unreachable.
  3. Find your uniqueness: your life experiences and skills make you unique. Figure out what this looks like and begin to create a story.
  4. Re-frame negative thoughts: practice self compassion. Instead of worrying about things going wrong, ask yourself what would happen if things went right?
  5. Build your confidence: treat confidence as a skill that you can work to develop, and devote time to it.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is an ongoing process. The goal is to stop feeling like a fraud and someone who is not good enough, and start owning your success.

If imposter syndrome is something you wrestle with, join me for the Fast Track Your Career: Personal Branding: 6 Week Course starting 30 May where I delve deeper into:

  • the impacts of imposter syndrome
  • more practical ways to overcome imposter syndrome
  • confidence building strategies
  • making your voice heard.

Motivation Tip

If you were brave, what would you do today? Great, now go and do that thing!

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