Imposter Alert! You’re Smart and Successful…So Why Don’t You Feel Like It?

Published on June 6, 2012 by

Are you an imposter?

Okay, let me clarify—despite being smart, talented and accomplished, do you often feel as though you aren't? Do you find yourself thinking, “I know I’m all that, but I don’t feel like I’m all that”? If you are nodding your head in agreement, you are not alone.

In fact, you are so far from alone that there is a name for what you feel. It’s called Imposter Syndrome (or the Imposter Phenomenon), and it's what happens when successful and accomplished people don’t feel successful and accomplished despite their track records. They fear that one day, everyone will discover that their success has been a fluke—that they were undeserving of it. On some level, they feel like frauds.

These feelings are surprisingly common. You might be shocked to learn that even some pretty famous and well-respected people deal with Imposter Syndrome! But don't take my word for it...

"I have written eleven 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.'"—Maya Angelou

"You think, 'Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?'" —Meryl Streep

"At any time, I still think the no-talent police will come and arrest me." —Mike Myers

Can you relate? If so, consider how well you have done despite your self-doubt and self-recriminations. Then think of how much more you could achieve (and how much more you would enjoy your success) if you were to own it.

You don’t have to live the rest of your life feeling as though you are undeserving. You are not an imposter, so drop the label right now. You got yourself to where you are today. You are smart, talented, and accomplished. You are all these things and more. It’s time for you to own it.

4 Comments

  1. Randall Walters

    Interesting, Alan. I had no idea this was such a common phenomenon. Interesting that such successful people struggle with this.

    • Alan Allard

      Randall, thanks for stopping by again and for you comments, I appreciate it.

  2. Rob S.

    You have the unique ability to identify and articulate experience that so many encounter, yet seemingly few are able to process and move beyond. Fantastic article. Thank you, Alan!

    • Alan Allard

      Rob, thanks for you comments, I appreciate it!

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