Beating the Imposter Syndrome to Win at Life

You have a deep desire to write a book, but can’t seem to begin.

A tender voice inside beckons for release on the stage, but you can’t configure your outline.

Constantly friends and colleagues approach you for life advice, but the title of coach feels inauthentic.

Losing those 15-30 “extra” pounds of baby weight stick to you like a security blanket, when you join a gym.

Why is it that every time we desire to do something really inspiring, there is a little voice inside that seems to stifle the greatness?

They all involve doing something new, but the moment you head down the path, you run into this thing, this fear that you’re bumping up against the limits of your ability. Then, the voice inside your head begins saying things like:

“Do you have a license to be a coach?”

“Who gave you permission to do that?”

“Who said you could write a book and have a famous Author happily provide the Forward.”

imposter-syndrome-good-enough-on-handFinding ways to increase your value while doing the things you love may be the most important thing you do. Welcome to the world of Personal Development.

It’s at the moment when you’re most vulnerable that all your doubts come crashing in around you.

I get it, and, you’re not alone.

When I first heard that voice in my own head, I was very young and didn’t know what to make of it. The fear was paralyzing. Every time I sat down to write, speak to an audience or sell to a client, I was consumed with worry the world would say, “You’re a fraud.”

You may be both shocked and relieved to learn that this feeling has a name.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists
Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to
internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. (Wikipedia)

imposter-syndrome-explained-on-a-napkinThey further described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” While these people “are highly motivated to achieve,” they also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.” Sound familiar?

As you’ve tried new things or done anything outside of your comfort zone, you’ve probably felt that fear, too.

Finding my art has been a marriage followed by immediate divorce. Any artist will recall details of the internal war in birthing a creation followed by anxiety for validation in something subjective.

Creativity, as art, as being true, as living well, as anything, requires tremendous courage not in the creating, rather in the space immediately following where your ego seeks insatiable affirmation.

Everyone loses when bright people play small through needless self doubt. ~Dr. Valerie Young, Author of Imposter Syndrome 

American author and poet Maya Angelou shared this: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ Despite winning three Grammys and being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, this huge talent still questioned her success.

imposter-syndrome-in-therapyMarketing expert, Seth Godin, even after publishing a dozen best sellers, wrote in “The Icarus Deception” that he still feels like a fraud. American presidents, artists, singers and countless actors have repeatedly described the same sensation.

Writing a book. Creating a sculpture. Raising a child. Being a coach or embracing a new career.

When we have a natural skill or talent, we tend to discount its value. Match this with a natural sense of humility and it moves into the space of paralyzing fear with the assumption that what’s natural, maybe even easy for us, can’t offer any value to the world. But after spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?

All of this leads to the final and most important step: learning how to live with the impostor syndrome.imposter-syndrome-bart-simpson

I’ve married a love deep within myself, and when fully expressed, it’s divorced so my art can live as own thing, allowing me to be something – someone -separate from it.

Go get married to your art, fully partner with it. Then, divorce the creation right there, leaving it standing alone in the isle as you walk away. (Mic drop. Crowds gasp.)

This impostor syndrome will never fully go away, but you can think of it as a classic poser. When you hear that voice in your head, take a deep breath, give a brief pause and with a rocking smile say, “You’re not invited to my tea party.”

Now, let’s get to work.

~Robin Reed

About Robin

Contributor to popular blogs and authoring five non-fiction books, Robin has been writing for over a decade about healing, recovery and personal development, working with clients in the ways of romance.
After attending the Romance Writers Convention, he was hooked on the romance genre, embarking on a two year quest to become a master story teller. Lovers in the Woods is his debut romance novel, choosing paranormal to spotlight his connection to the spiritual and mystical.
For more of Robin’s work, visit his website at
8 replies
  1. Ruth Lewis-Tratch
    Ruth Lewis-Tratch says:

    Such great insight. So many times we undervalue our gifts because we think we’re no one special. There is comfort to know so many great people experience the same feeling. Do it anyway!

    • Robin Reed
      Robin Reed says:

      Love your comment Nikki. I’m writing a relationship book for women on this very subject called Manifest Your Man. Check it out =>

    • Robin Reed
      Robin Reed says:

      Thanks for your comment. I can so relate! I’m writing a relationship book for women on this very subject called Manifest Your Man. Check it out =>

  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    Your article gave me incredible insight. I have been working on a book for the past ten years and I keep self-sabotaging myself with my feelings that I may not be able to contribute to society with my life experiences. Reiterating your words” When we have a natural skill or talent, we tend to discount its value. Match this with a natural sense of humility and it moves into the space of paralyzing fear with the assumption that what’s natural, maybe even easy for us, can’t offer any value to the world.” That totally hit home with me and I feel this sense of awareness that I cannot explain. I am finally going to complete my book as soon as possible. Thank you very much for your sharing your deepest insights.

  3. Ashley Strong
    Ashley Strong says:

    I absolutely love this! Thank you thank you! I started my blog about 3 years ago just planning to share my experiences in hopes of helping someone – just one person to know they weren’t alone. Quickly I started having people reaching out to me for help and coaching. I was writing about my experiences as a medium while simultaneously learning to get happy and healthy. I was thrown into an awakening like you wouldn’t believe and people were asking for me help? Now I am a full-time blogger and intuitive development coach and I still question myself sometimes. Who am I to do this? What qualifies me over another? Then I remember I didn’t go looking for this it found me so there has to be something to it. Thank you so much for a wonderful article and reminder!

    • Robin Reed
      Robin Reed says:

      Love this Ashley. Would be an honor to connect with you more. I’m releasing a relationship book for women called Manifest Your Man. Check it out =>


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.