How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Want to know how to overcome Impostor Syndrome? Are you a new or experienced entrepreneur in transition OR a career changer ready to make the jump? This is for you!

Did you know that if you are a new or experienced entrepreneur (or career changer) who has chosen to watch a video/read a blog about how to overcome Impostor Syndrome, then you are highly likely to be a high achiever and highly driven. But you are also very likely to be really bad at identifying and owning your achievements. And you are probably afraid that you are going to be found out or exposed as a fraud.

Guess what – Those are the exact characteristic that make up a person who suffers from Impostor Syndrome or Fraud Syndrome!…

In 1978, 2 female American psychologist, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, identified a group of individuals who were characterized by an inability to internalize their achievements (or own their achievements) and who had a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Does that sound familiar? I come across so many people who don’t feel they’re credible enough, don’t have what it takes or are afraid of being found out. They are afraid people are going to find out they are really not good at something or that they are brand new to this.

Hi – I’m Rikke Hansen and in my work as a Transition Advisor, I help new and experienced entrepreneurs nail down what they really want to do next, what their first/next business is, what their next product is, and whether they’re really in the right business.

Often when we get to this stage where we nail down that new business, new product and/or new direction, we get to the point where the client has to go out and talk about their business or write their “About Me” page or “Services” page and they’re like, “Oh, my God. I’ve never really done this before. I don’t really feel credible. I don’t really feel like I should be doing this or that I’ve done enough so I can do this.” It’s very, very normal.

Even highly experienced entrepreneurs that I come across, who’ve had their business for years, still suffer from this Imposter Syndrome or Fraud Syndrome.

Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, we’re very, very exposed. We’re on our own. We can’t just hide behind some kind of fancy corporate name or fancy educational institution. We are our own company even if you had success in our career or in our businesses so far.

I totally get it. There’s almost this feeling when we go into a transition or a new venture, that we do so empty-handed. 

But let me tell you something right up front. It doesn’t have to be like that. You NEVER have to go empty handed into anything.

Maybe your business just started existing 5 minutes ago or 10 minutes ago or 5 years ago, but YOU did not just start existing 5 minutes ago.

Your lived experience and everything that you’ve lived as a result up to this moment makes you really unique and is proper ammunition for your business. In a moment, I’ll tell you more about that.

What I want to also let you know is you are in really good company.

One of my favourite authors (that I always go to for inspiration as an entrepreneur) is Seth Godin. I’m sure you love Seth, too. If not, make sure you check out his books.

Now, I was re-reading The Icarus Deception the other day and I came across him writing this:

“Everyone is lonely and everyone feels like a fraud. I feel like a fraud as I type this, as I brush my teeth, and every time I go onstage. This is part of the human condition. Accept it. Now what?”

There you go. Even Seth Godin has Imposter Syndrome!

Could you imagine if Seth Godin had decided that he wasn’t good enough, that he was a fraud, and as a result, he was not going to write any of the books that he’s written to inspire so many people like you and I?

What we’re learning here is that it is possible to actually have Imposter Syndrome and still live with it. What you’ve got to do is to take those actions that you’re afraid of taking and to just realize that everybody feels the same, especially high achieving individuals.


Let’s get really concrete and make sure you know how to not let Imposter Syndrome sabotage your business efforts, whether it’s your new business or an existing business. And also learn deal with the feeling of going empty handed into a transition.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you are transitioning into a new business or a new career, then you have to prove yourself all over again from scratch before you can be credible, command proper fees, have proper paying clients, or run a proper business. That does NOT have to be the case.

You “new thing”, your new business, is likely just an accumulation of everything you’ve ever done and all the incredible, unique skills that you’ve already spent YEARS perfecting, that you’re bloody good at already.

Life has prepared you for this and you got all the ammunition you need.

Here’s the thing, it’s not that your business is all about you doing things you’ve never done before in some capacity because you have.

Your clients are paying you for your whole portfolio of lived experience, for your great personality, and for every single moment you have spent perfecting your gifts. Don’t rob them of that gift.


Let’s get really practical.

There are 2 things I want you to do. One is an exercise you can do right now and the other one is a habit that I want you to start today.

Action 1:  Identify your 5 biggest achievements (throughout your career or throughout the businesses you’ve had).

When I mean big achievements, it’s the things you’re bloody good at AND really enjoyed.

Tip: The way to identify an achievement is look at what was the problem, what was the action, and what was the result, so PAR.

Once you’ve written down your 5 biggest achievements, then I want you to look through them and identify those skills and those gift that you’re using again and again because all of us have things we cannot not do. Let me say that again.

All of us have things we cannot NOT do, skills that we cannot help using.

Mine, for example, are problem solving, overwhelm eradication, and business design. All of my big achievements, they’ve all been around that.

Look at your 5 biggest achievements that you’ve undertaken and then pull them apart. What are the things you keep seeing as a red thread that you did to get those achievements. That is the ammunition. Those are the very skills you’re still building your business around because that’s what you cannot not do!

Then use those skills in  your copy and when you speak to your new clients to show them how they are still RELEVANT.

I want you to go and do that. That’s going to make you feel much better about yourself because remember, Imposter Syndrome is you not having internalized your achievements. In order to do this, you need to identify them and internalize them and celebrate them. That’s the first thing I want you to do.

Action 2: Start a Small Wins habit

The second thing I want you to do is to start getting used to identifying, celebrating, and thereby really internalizing your achievements.

Every day from now on, last thing at night or in the evening after work, I want you to write down 3 small wins or 3 small achievements from that day because I want you to get used to identifying even the small wins and the small achievements you have.

Hand on heart, this has been a real Achilles’ heel for myself. I’m a high achiever just like you and most of the time when I did this exercise, I was like, “Oh, but that’s not good enough.”

I promise you, get used to writing down even just small achievements and you’re going to be a lot better at identifying the bigger achievements when they come along and internalizing them and celebrating them and buying something to make yourself feel good about it. That, my friend, is really going to help you enormously.

Screw imposter syndrome.

You have already earned the right to be here.

You’ve already got what it takes.

You have lived credibility and lived experience.

Go and do those 2 actions and you’re going to feel even better.

Now, I bet you if you are high achiever, your friends are probably high achievers too and they could do with this practical advice.

Action: Forward this video to at least 2 friends, share it on social media and sign up below for more goodies. 

On Career Change, Own Business

Enjoyed this post? Then you'll also love

Career Change Worries

Read Post

Career Change & Resilience

Read Post

Career Change & COVID-19

Read Post