There is so much out there about Imposter Syndrome. The implication of Syndrome being that this is a medical condition, that requires expert intervention to ‘cure’ you. Or, possibly even just help you get used to living with it. Afterall, most Syndromes are rather unpleasant and often, incurable. I believe, and my experience as a Coach and International Motivational Speaker, has shown me, that Your Imposter is a Mindset, not a Syndrome. And like all sets, you can change it. You just have to be the Director.

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What is Imposter Mindset ™ ?

Our mindset is a constantly changing, fluid place. We are not one mindset type or another, except in rare cisrcumstances or extreme cases of narcicistic personalities. Even those with a closed mindset as their go-to at work, can have an overriding conversation in their head witth their Imposter when they feel threatened.

Key behaviours of Imposter Mindset™ include:

  • Open to learning from others; even those they actually know more than.
  • Never believes they can achieve good results and questions them when they do.
  • Embraces negative feedback as a chance to prove they are right about how much they suck at what they do
  • Looks at challenges and decides they will fail before even considering a plan of action
  • Fears change and looks for the past to reinforce their beliefs about their inability to change. Will single out only negative examples, often overlooking that there are far more which are positive.

What makes it differfent to a Syndrome?

I have a Syndrome. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It is one of my daily challenges. And whilst I have a pretty good track record of finding ways to deal with, challenge or accommodate my Syndrome, I cannot change it. I cannot cure it or make it into something it is not. No matter how positive my Mindset is.

Once you see that you have not got some incurable condition, some burden you must learn to live with, you can own and start to change your mindset. And you can start to recognise the Imposter Mindset™ for what it is and how it impacts you.

Imposter Mindset
Imposter Mindset loves a Historical Drama. Illustrations by Amanda Rose

My Top Tips to start Directing your Imposter Mindset™

  • Stop re-playing Historical Dramas – your Imposter Mindset™ loves to find evidence that it is right. By constantly going back to ‘that time when I messed up’ or replaying nightmare scenes from your teens, start looking at more recent events. Especially those that went well. Provide new evidence to refer to when your Imposter is ringing in your ears.
  • Set the Scene. And re-set it for every scenario, If you find your Imposter Mindset™ is loudest in certain situations, then prepare for them and create a new scene. You can be the Director in your life-story, so decide how you’re going to ‘play’ the scene. Bring your Confidence Game, or your Detatched and Determined character when you’re going to need to be strong. If you start a meeting thinking ‘this is going to be a challenge’ then guess what… So, how about ‘I’m going to enjoy this’ or ‘This is going to be a great meeting.’ next time.
  • Stop hiding away your best reviews. When you get a message thanking you for great work, or being thoughtful or helpful, where do you put it? If your Imposter Mindset™ has anything to do with it, probably in a file or drawer. From today, get those notes and put them where you can see them. Yes, other people mights see them too. That’s okay, they already think highly of you, it’s just you who doesn’t.

Mindset is never ‘set’

The more I read, learn and write about Mindset in general, the more I see how we all transition between several mindset types. This constant flow can be daily or at key times in our lives. I know, for example, that when I am Coaching someone who has recently been promoted or taken on a new position, they often experience a period of Imposter Mindset™ about seven to ten weeks in.

This was often called the ‘honeymoon period’ by employers, who would see a dip in production or sudden lateness. In truth, all that is often required is some reassurance that they we are progressing well and meeting (or exceeding) excpectations for the wobble to pass.

There are many stages we create, many sets in which to play-out our daily lives. I love Coaching people to see that they are able to influence, own and even change their set. You can find several posts about it in my Blog.


I am currently launching my 2022 Mindset Coaching Groups. Limited places will be available. Find out more here and reserve your place.