Are You an Impostor?

“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

Can you relate to Angelou’s quote above? Maybe you haven’t written 11 books… maybe you’re still slogging through the first draft of your first manuscript and are already thinking, “Why would anybody want to read this? Everyone knows this already!” If so, welcome to the club.

amIaWriterImpostor Syndrome is defined as the inability to internalize accomplishments. “Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.” Wikipedia

Instead of acknowledging their part in their own achievements, high achievers and celebrities who feel like fakes (and there are lots of them) credit their success to luck, good timing, or deception.

Can you relate? Do those doubts keep you from enjoying your successes or striving for new goals?

Here’s how you can get rid (or at least reduce) those self-defeating doubts: 

  • Make a list of the reasons why you are the right person to write the book, give the speech, or coach people to success.
  • Take credit for the things you’ve accomplished, experienced, beaten, and survived. Write down those successes.

When those “I’m a fake” feelings start to surface, read the list to remind yourself what you have to offer the world. Then, push through. Write the book. Give the speech. Share your story.

And when someone compliments you on a job well done, say thank you. Don’t brush off their show respect. You earned it.

Share your thoughts: Do you thinking “pushing through” is the same as “faking it”?

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Celeste Martinez - June 15, 2014

Hi Erin – Your article really resonated with me. First, I love Maya! Second, I write, but it has never come easily to me. As such, calling myself a writer has been difficult. Thanks for the advice!

    Erin K Casey - June 15, 2014

    Thanks, Celeste. Just remember: Writers write. Keep at it and share your work.

VickieT - May 21, 2020

I get it. It’s like “I’m just me, nobody special or famous.” With some success, it may start to feel like if others recognize it as talent, then maybe I can too!

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