The real impostor

The real impostor is impostor syndrome.

Everyone seems to be an impostor these days.

It has become almost fashionable to recognise you suffer from impostor syndrome. But seeing it is only part of the story. It can still be a smoke-screen if you stay trapped in inaction.

At root, this is fear, a combination of how we see ourselves and fear of rejection. It is a sneaky fear that dresses in different clothes and costumes but it is the same thing at the root.

There are only two options – it is either true or it is false.

If I told you I was not very good at playing the violin, this would not be an example of impostor syndrome because I have never picked up a violin in my life. That would be me being an actual impostor. However, if you are not an impostor (and it’s rare that you are), you are a learner. We must listen to the right critic.


Trying something with an unknown outcome means you might fail but that wouldn’t make you a failure. It makes you someone who is growing.

Separate out the actions from the actor – what you do from who you are. Recognise when you are learning.

It is possible to learn to dance with fear, to name it and find your own way to go around, over or through it. You can do this.

Impostor Syndrome at work

I need to tell you that I almost didn’t share this post. Now that was impostor syndrome at work!

Having had the insight and idea for this post a while ago, I discovered other people talking about it. You know how it is when you notice something and then see it everywhere.

It felt like what they had to say was better expressed, more helpful and that they really knew what they are talking about. So who was I to think I had anything worth saying?

But maybe I do have something important to learn for myself by writing and sharing this with you. I hope it helps you too. Thank you for being on the journey with me.

I would love to hear your best strategies for handling impostor syndrome – Share it here

Something to see

The Crossroads of Should and Must with Elle Luna – it is time to… [you fill in the blank] What is your must?

Something to hear

Listen to Jay Acunzo and his guests discuss impostor syndrome and fear of rejection.

This is from his episode notes:

“In this episode, we follow multimedia journalist Natalia Aldana, organizer and artist Aisha White, podcaster and indie creator Jay Clouse, and we hear from marketing legend Joe Pulizzi as they (and me, Jay Acunzo) learn to navigate how these maker monsters attempt to take hostage their (and our) sense of self-worth.

So many of us conflate our professional success with personal worth, so what happens when we don’t believe in ourselves or we are paralyzed by potential rejection? And how can we all keep fighting back and overcome our own maker monsters?”

Something to read

Another one of my heroes – Eric Nuzum – in his blog post entitled Fast. Cheap. Good… Pick Two. How to do good work and what not to give up to achieve it.

Fast. Cheap. Good...Pick Two.

Fast. Cheap. Good…Pick Two.

The startup mantra applies beautifully to podcasting but one of your two choices should always be “good.”

And finally

  • Ask a better question
  • Of yourself and others