Rediscovering Your True Worth

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome - Woman with self doubt and fear of being exposed as a fraud

Do you sometimes doubt your abilities and accomplishments? Do you feel, that you do not really deserve your position or role? Do you fear being exposed as incompetent? – You may be experiencing “impostor syndrome”, a psychological condition that affects many high-achieving individuals. In this article, we will explore the nature of impostor syndrome and how you can overcome such self-limiting believes.

What is Impostor Syndrome

Overview & Symptoms

Impostor syndrome is characterised by patterns of self-doubt and feelings of being undeserving of one’s achievements or professional role. Those affected doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and fear being exposed as frauds.

Individuals with impostor syndrome feel that they do cannot really fulfil their current role, that they do not belong where others see them. They have a tendency to downplay their achievements and discount their abilities or compare themselves unfavourably to others. – They assume that their peers got their position by their own merit, but they themselves somehow just were lucky.

Those affected have difficulty accepting praise from others and believing positive feedback. Regardless of their objective competence, individuals often struggle to internalise their accomplishments, perceiving themselves as impostors in their areas of expertise.


  • Regular Self-Doubt
  • Feelings of incompetence and “not belonging there”
  • Low self-esteem and lack of self-worth
  • Fear of being exposed as a fraud
  • Discounting praise from others

It’s important to note that impostor syndrome is not an accurate reflection of an individual’s actual competence. In fact, individuals who experience impostor syndrome often possess high levels of expertise and genuine competence. However, their internal belief system is marked by a persistent sense of self-doubt, which skews their perception of their own abilities and achievements.

High-Achievers are Often Affected

Paradoxically, Impostor syndrome is particularly prevalent among high-achievers who objectively excel in their endeavours – whether it is academically or professionally. This can include recently promoted executives, or rising stars taking up a prestigious position in a new company.

While it was initially believed that impostor syndrome disproportionally affects females, more recent studies have shown that men are just as affected but may be too ashamed to speak about it. These findings are in line with the overall impostor syndrome, where the underlying emotion is fear of being shamed due to not being good enough.

Impact on Educational Success and Career

Self-doubts and fear of being exposed can undermine self-confidence and cause stress and anxiety. This can lead to self fulfilling prophecies if a high level of stress and fear makes it difficult to concentrate and undermines the actual skill level (e.g. exam anxiety, fear of public speaking).

Impostor syndrome can permeate particularly affects educational and career achievements. Impostor syndrome can hinder career progression as individuals may shy away from opportunities for fear of being exposed as incompetent. The fragile sense of self-worth can undermine assertiveness and in this way affect actual performance.

Through therapy and self-reflection, you can develop strategies to challenge negative thought patterns, build self-confidence, and embrace their true capabilities.

Origins of Impostor Syndrome

Upbringing and socialisation have a strong impact on the self-perception of one’s performance and assessment of one’s success. The way we are treated with expectations and criticism primes our nervous system for future situations.

  • High expectation: We are imprinted by experiences with parents, caregivers, teachers, supervisors – at school or sports activities, at university and in our first job.
  • Experiences of criticism: Being constantly criticised or compared to others can contribute to a deep-seated belief of being inadequate.

Western society seems to measure the value of individuals based on their performance and their achievements. Impostor syndrome can arise from the fear of failing to meet expectations – including one’s own expectations. The pressure and own will to constantly achieve, excel, and appear confident can amplify a sense of inadequacy in individuals who may already be prone to self-doubt.

How Coaching Can Help Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Coaching can assist you in addressing and overcoming imposter syndrome. By exploring your thought patterns and emotions, you can develop a more realistic awareness of yourselves. Coaching empowers you to overcome the fear of inadequacy and helps you cultivate self-compassion and effective self-support. This way you gain effective support to build self-confidence, and align your thoughts and actions with your true capabilities.


Realistic Self-Assessment


Cultivating Self-Compassion


Building Confidence & Self-Worth


Building Assertiveness

Realistic Self-Assessment

Coaching involves developing improved reality testing skills. Learn to realistically asses your own competence. Learn to realistically compare yourself. Discover and explore a deep sense of safety in your own capabilities.

Cultivating Self-Compassion

One of the key focuses of coaching is on cultivating self-compassion. Through various techniques, you will be encouraged to embrace self-kindness, understanding, and acceptance. Through self-compassion, you can counteract the self-doubt and self-criticism and ultimately develop a healthier self-image.

Building Confidence & Self-Worth

Coaching provides you with tools and strategies to build self-confidence and assertiveness. You can learn to recognise your strengths, acknowledge your accomplishments, and believe in your abilities. Build confidence and self-worth through guided self-reflection and strengthening of body based capabilities.

Building Assertiveness – Communicate your Self-Worth

Coaching helps you developing assertiveness skills. It enables you to express your needs, set boundaries, and advocate for yourself – including defending against criticism and negotiating realistic expectations.

Though coaching, you can overcome self-doubt and build healthy self confidence and start believing in your authentic competence.