Impostor Syndrome

We all have that looming voice in the back of our minds that discounts our achievements and keeps us feeling a lack of confidence/success until we achieve the next milestone. That voice is our inner villain voice and it whispers quietly in our ear creating beliefs to support it’s Rational-LIES.

Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves? The answer is easy! We see everyone’s life as the highlight reel they choose to convey on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. The glorious life they live and how they are basking in the sweet success that always seems to find them. Then we start to Catastrophize the endless challenges and distractions that seem to pour over us in any given moment.

We imagine their life and successes like that of a swan… Graceful and majestic as it glides effortlessly across the water towards it’s destination. That’s how we see others lives in comparison to ours. They are graceful and success comes easy for them. We dream about living a day in their life. We resent them for the life we think they have, but underneath the water, they are paddling like HELL!

It only appears that they have everything in order from the outside. The reality is that they are stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed just like you. They are triggered by traffic jams, unrealistic deadlines, family issues and competing priorities. You just don’t see it.

They are most likely looking at someone else, maybe even you, thinking, “I wonder how that person keeps it all together so well…” Don’t believe me, just ask them… “How do you seem to be able to keep all aspects of your life flowing seamlessly together?”

In summary, you are not an IMPOSTOR! You don’t need to believe those villainous thoughts. You can if you want to, but I suggest that you allow the thought to drift by like a soft fluffy cloud on a beautiful summer day.

Appreciate the thought
Say “Thank You”
Allow it to float past

Our mind is not able to differentiate a perceived threat from an actual one. Our brain processes it the exact same way. Also, it cannot tell if the threat is new or if we are “Re-Awfulizing” an thought or experience from the past. We cannot experience competing emotions at the same time. If you are in the grip of your inner villain, then Appreciation and Gratefulness are what you need to practice. Find one thing you appreciate or are grateful for in that moment.

If you can pause and stop the impostor habit loop, then you can take a breath, focus on something you are grateful for, SMILE and then RESPOND in a way that serves you and the other person.

If your villain wants you to believe that you need the next certificate, degree or achievement before you can feel successful and deserving, then it’s time to tell that villain, “Thank You” and let that thought drift on by… Don’t believe the Rational-Lies of your inner villain. Choose to BELIEVE your inner HERO!!!

Michael Hahn is a leadership speaker, mindset coach and culture expert who consults with leaders seeking to create a HERO culture and maximize employee engagement. He is the author of Hero Habits: The Guide to Thriving in Corporate America and in Life.

Need a leadership speaker? Check out Michael’s interactive presentations at