Overcome The ‘Imposter’ Syndrome

Do you ever have those moments where you feel completely out of your league, like you’re trying to perform in a shoe size that’s much too big for you? Or maybe it’s just the daily pressure of thinking that your best is never good enough!

All of us, not just an unfortunate 1 or 2 individuals, experience this tension between responsibility and pressure. It’s like the higher we climb the greater risk there is of falling. With great responsibility comes great internal doubt. I want to share with you three key thoughts in understanding and removing our inner critic so that we can continue moving toward excellence.

Remove your "inner critic" and move towards excellence

Our thoughts and feelings drive our performance. I believe even at the best of times, we all take opportunities to be our own worst critic. We always want to perform at our very best, and it seems that no matter what level we feel we are on, our confidence is continually beaten down by that little inner voice that can’t wait to expose our inadequacy.

I believe, that little inner voice can be recognised by distinct dialogues. Becoming aware of these dialogues can be the first, and sometimes most important step, to building our confidence, which then serves to build our competence. Here are three common examples of inner critic dialogue:

1. Selective Thinking

Do you ever get caught up in doing things perfectly or focusing so hard on the end outcome that you become only aware of the negative and often discount the positive? We seem to evaluate the situation by what we didn't achieve, what didn't happen or what didn't work. The problem is whatever you focus on is what you feel. This ultimately affects our future performance.

2. ‘Catastrophizing’

Have you ever had a massive disaster at work…that actually only occurred in your mind? Sometimes our inner critic has a tendency to ‘catastrophize’. We blow things out of proportion and don't see the situation as it is, but rather, worse than it is e.g. “What if I make a mistake?… I'll be ridiculed… seen as a poor employee and then I could be out looking for another job… how will I be able to pay my mortgage??!!”

3. Over generalizing

It is eye-opening to see how often we define our self worth by what we do. If we don't hit our goal or meet our standards, we feel as though we are a failure. It’s like in that one single performance, we define who we truly are: failures, losers, nobodies!! This leaves us exposed and feeling as though we are not cut out for this position.

Action plan:

Begin by recognising these three distinct dialogues that are part of our inner critic. It’s important to see our situations as they are, but not worse than they actually are. Never assume that your thoughts are 100% accurate all the time. Strengthening our awareness is always the first key step to getting back the control and turning down the volume of the inner critic...

We influence our personal power to take action by choosing the right thoughts and feelings.

Keep thinking big & pursuing excellence!


Benjamin Young

Speaker | Coach | Trainer | at Job Performance Coaching & Training

I help executives, managers & team leaders to influence human behaviour and in essence get more out of individuals and teams in terms of execution and results, sustainably. I help both leaders and employees improve excellence, energy & productivity in the workplace. I do this by teaching three specific skill sets: 1. Dealing with having too much to do 2. Staying cool under pressure 3. Influencing Behaviour -(Presenteeism, Absenteeism, Underperforming staff, Constructive Feedback)

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Phil Khor

Phil Khor , Founder at SavvySME

So true! We're often so self critical and forget about our real strengths that we spiral into an ever-consuming vortex of negativity and self-pity. Nothing good comes from that, ever. It's debilitating for business! Let's deal with it and get help before it's too late. This is such a powerful article, thanks Ben.

Benjamin Young

Benjamin Young , Speaker | Coach | Trainer | at Job Performance Coaching & Training

Thanks Phil. As always I appreciate your input and comments.

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