Imposter Syndrome: Why We’re Getting It All Wrong

Every day, millions of people attempt to kill off their ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Award-winning coach Taz Thornton argues we’re unwittingly attacking ourselves.

Taz Thornton
14 min readApr 13, 2021

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IMPOSTER Syndrome. Two words — five little syllables — we’ve been conditioned to fear, fight and do all in our power to obliterate. We blame this unseen force for so many of our perceived failings: lack of confidence, procrastination, poor cashflow, low self worth and esteem, even a dearth of clients.

There’s even a special day for it now — International Imposter Syndrome Awareness Day, held on April 13.

If you’re wondering what it is, Wikipedia gives this helpful explanation: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

In short, it’s a hairy, scary name applied to us doubting ourselves and our abilities — something pretty much all human beings experience, some more than others.

It becomes a problem when that little voice that whispers less-than-sweet-nothings starts to get its vice like grip into our unconscious and we start to blindly believe everything it says.

“You’re not good enough.”

“You’re not qualified or experienced enough for that job.”

“You’re too stupid/not worthy/insert your own demeaning statement here.”

“You cannot possibly live up to your own hype — they’re all going to see you’re nowhere near as capable as your LinkedIn bio claims.”

Etc, etc, etc.

Every time that internalised voice pops up to knock us down, we call it by the name psychologists, coaches, the media and countless books have been giving it for years: Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome: The Origin

Before we get into why I have very real concerns about some of the throwaway, headline statements we’re applying to Imposter Syndrome today, we need to look…

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Taz Thornton

3 X TEDx speaker, bestselling author, award-winning confidence & visibility coach. Creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome empowerment & #ProjectArtemis programmes.