Rich Maloney | April 28, 2024

Imposter syndrome: What is it, how it affects your life and how to overcome it?

At a glance

  • Imposter syndrome is a sense of inadequacy despite external evidence of achievement.
  • Discounting compliments, comparing yourself to others, attributing success to luck, fearing being a one-hit wonder, and needing to be the expert are some of the signs to look out for.
  • To effectively navigate your feelings, challenge negative self-talk, celebrate your victories, and focus on your strengths.


Amid professional triumph, have you ever been haunted by a nagging voice whispering, “This is merely a stroke of luck, mate”? Perhaps you delivered a captivating presentation with the boardroom abuzz, completed a project on time and within budget, or achieved a well-earned promotion, yet a lingering sense of inadequacy persists. Allow me to introduce the cunning culprit known as imposter syndrome, a prevalent experience among many Australians, particularly those who excel.

This is the insidious nature of imposter syndrome. It’s not just a passing thought of self-doubt but a persistent, corrosive force that can chip away at even the most confident individuals. Despite all evidence to the contrary, it’s a peculiar blend of feeling like a fraud, a phoney, or an imposter. It’s a sly deceiver that thrives in the shadows of success, casting doubt on one’s abilities and achievements.

Overcoming imposter syndrome requires recognising it for what it is: an irrational fear. It’s a distortion of reality, a false narrative that contradicts the tangible evidence of one’s accomplishments. The key is to challenge these negative thoughts, confront them with facts, and gradually replace self-doubt with self-belief.


Imposter Syndrome Revealed


Imposter syndrome, also called the “imposter phenomenon,” is a psychological pattern characterised by persistent feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt despite overwhelming evidence of success. It’s that pesky inner critic, that gremlin on your shoulder, disguised as logic, whispering that you’re a fraud, that your accomplishments are a lucky break, and that someone’s bound to discover you’re not as good as everyone thinks.


How Does Imposter Syndrome Affect You?

This internal critic can be incredibly debilitating, infiltrating various aspects of your life. It can lead to:


Anxiety and Fear:

The constant fear of being exposed as a fraud can trigger anxiety, making you overly cautious in your work and personal life. You might hesitate to take on new challenges or opportunities, fearing failure and public humiliation. Imagine the pressure of giving a presentation at a national conference – imposter syndrome can make you feel like a ring-in, even if you’re a seasoned professional.


Perfectionism Paralysis:

You might push yourself to unrealistic standards, striving for flawlessness to prove your worth. This relentless pursuit of perfection can lead to burnout, disappointment, and a constant feeling of falling short.


Undermining Your Achievements:

You downplay your successes, attributing them to external factors like luck, timing, or the support of others rather than your skills and hard work. This diminishes your sense of accomplishment and hinders your ability to build confidence.



Fearing failure, you might procrastinate on tasks or opportunities. This avoidance can hinder your personal and professional growth, preventing you from reaching your full potential. Imagine putting off applying for your dream job because you’re convinced you won’t get it. Imposter syndrome can be a significant roadblock to advancement.



Are You an Imposter? Common Signs to Unmask the Gremlin


If you resonate with these experiences, you might be grappling with imposter syndrome. Here are some telltale signs to help you unmask the gremlin:


Discounting Compliments:

You brush aside praise, believing it’s undeserved or a mere formality. “Nah, that was nothing,” you might say, deflecting recognition of your hard work.


The Comparison Trap:

You constantly compare yourself to others, particularly those you perceive as more successful. This fuels feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, diminishing your achievements.


Luck, Not Skill:

You attribute your success to luck or external factors rather than your abilities. You might downplay your efforts, saying, “I was just in the right place at the right time.”


The “One-Hit Wonder” Fear:

You worry that your success is a one-time event, and you won’t be able to repeat it. This fear can lead to anxiety and a reluctance to take risks. Imagine finally landing your dream client but fearing you won’t be able to deliver again. Imposter syndrome can hold you back from pursuing new opportunities.


The Need to Be the Expert:

You feel pressure to know everything and avoid asking for help for fear of appearing incompetent. This can hinder your learning and growth, as collaboration and knowledge sharing are crucial for success.


Taming the Imposter: Strategies for Success Down Under


The good news is that there are ways to reclaim your confidence. Here are some strategies to combat imposter syndrome and step to your full potential:


Challenge Negative Self-Talk:

Recognise self-doubt for what it is—an unhelpful inner critic. Don’t let it control your narrative. Challenge these thoughts with evidence of your skills and accomplishments.

Keep a “wins” journal where you document your achievements, big and small. Refer back to it when self-doubt creeps in.


Focus on Your Strengths, Not Just Your Stumbles:

List your strengths, skills, and experiences. Review them regularly to remind yourself of your capabilities. Everyone makes mistakes, but how you learn from them defines you.


Celebrate Your Wins, Big and Small:

Don’t downplay your hard work! Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, both big and small. Take yourself out for a celebratory Barbie with mates, share your success with loved ones, or take a moment to acknowledge your effort and progress. Remember the Aussie tradition of a “shout” for a job well done – celebrate your wins, big or small.


Embrace the Learning Curve, Mate:

Nobody knows everything. View challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Use the spirit of resilience to bounce back from setbacks and embrace them as learning experiences.


Seek Support from Your Mates and Mentors:

Talking to a trusted friend, mentor, or life coach in Australia can be incredibly validating. Sharing your experience with someone who understands can help you gain perspective and develop coping mechanisms. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support—after all, we’re all in this together!


Focus on Progress, Not Perfection:

Aim for progress, not perfection. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and learn from them. Remember, the journey towards success is rarely linear. There will be setbacks and bumps along the road, but the key is to keep moving forward and learning from your experiences. Learn from them, adjust your approach, and keep moving forward.


Imposter syndrome can be a formidable foe, but it doesn’t have to define you. Recognising the signs, challenging negative thoughts, celebrating achievements, and developing a growth mindset can silence the gremlin and step into your full potential.


Want to transform your self-doubt into unshakeable confidence, true blue?


At Quality Mind, we help you silence your inner critic and achieve your full potential. Our personalised coaching programs are designed to empower you to overcome imposter syndrome, develop unshakeable self-belief, and unlock your true potential.

Quality Mind tackles imposter syndrome by focusing on “Personal Activation” – a future-oriented approach that empowers young people to create lasting change. Unlike traditional therapies that delve into the past, Quality Mind utilises technology and techniques grounded in neuroscience and positive psychology to build resilience and confidence. Through an 80% future-focused coaching and mentoring program with a supportive community, young people can learn to reframe self-doubt and see challenges as opportunities for growth. This action-oriented approach, backed by guaranteed results and 5-star reviews, equips young people with the tools to silence the imposter’s voice and achieve their full potential.

We understand the unique challenges Australians face, and our life coaches are equipped to help you navigate the cultural nuances that can contribute to imposter syndrome. We’ll help you develop a strong self-worth built on your unique skills and experiences.

Schedule a complimentary 45-minute coaching session with one of our experienced coaches today. Discover how we can help you silence the imposter and create a life of success and fulfilment. Together, let’s turn your “what ifs” into “what nows”!


Free 45-minute coaching session with Quality Mind.